2006-08-12

Special interest groups will be able to get IP addresses to conduct private investigations

Johan Linander, MP of the Center Party, has some mildly shocking news on his weblog.

I read DN (Swedish daily, translators note) today in the business section (I can't find it on dn.se so I can't link) that the department of justice is working on a legislation that are going to force ISP to provide IP addresses to copyright holders when they suspect infringement of their copyrights. The legislation is evidentally based on an EU directive called the Sanction Directive.

Today there has to be a police investigation of a suspected copyright crime, a crime that has to be serious enough to merit a prison sentence, if the police are to have IP addresses from ISPs. With the new law, a police investigation is not needed, a crime meriting prison is not needed, and the IP addresses are to be given out to the Bureau of Anti Piracy (the interest group of copyright holders in Sweden), since they are "working for" the copyright holders.

This sounds completely absurd. First of all to use integrity infringing methods against individuals no matter how small the crime, secondly that it's enough that an organisation is investigating, not the police, and, above all, because the ISPs can be forced by a court to provide IP addresses to an interest organisation instead of providing it to the police.

Marianne Levin, expert on copyright matters at the Stockholm university, says to DN that the law proposal signifies a new trend in Swedish law, since the Supreme Court traditionally has been restrictive when it comes to providing information from a third party.

I will of course work to stop this. An updated copyright legislation is needed, not more hunting of file sharers. If someone is going to be able to get personal information about me from my ISP, it should of course be the police, not the Bureau of Anti Piracy. We should not have a legislation giving interest groups rights to receive information from businesses at all. If a crime is committed the police should investigate it, and integrity infringment should only be allowed in the case of serious crimes.

What's the next step? Should an organisation hiding women under threat be able to demand call lists from phone companies if they suspect a man is making threatening calls to their ex girlfriends? No, even if this is a much more serious crime, it's the police that should investigate and use methods of privacy infringment, not an interest group.


The fact that more rights to use more and more repression and surveillance to hit against people for less and less crime is hardly news. The blogosphere has already pointed to the fact that the European Union is changing its' directions to make possible more and more serious repression against serious crime, while the Swedish department of justice is systematically changing Swedish legislation to fit more and more people within the span of "serious crime". Not long ago, Oscar Swartz of Texplorer repeased a report that showed this. He brought this up to public debate with the minister of justice, who's only response was that Swartz 'was not an independent scientist'.

But the fact that special interest groups are given the right to conduct crime investigations where they, themselves, have interests in the case is simply disturbing.

I can see a few other implementations of the same legislative culture. Why not let various white supremacy groups get addresses from the immigration authorities, for example?

Any society that makes claims of justice should be very clear - only the judicial body with police and prosecutors, IRS and similar conducts crime investigations. Private information is private for a reason. But this is something that the Swedish ministry of justice is trying to change.

2 comments:

kdsde said...

"So langsam glaube ich ja, du machst das absichtlich" ;)

[...] eu directive called the [...]

[...] Sweden)., since[...]
"Punkt, Punkt, Komma, Strich, fertig ist das Mondgesicht

[...]from my Internet provided[...] ISP i guess?

and "it is" alway interesting how "its" is sometimes confused with "it's". But don't be disappointed about that. Most americans don't know that these two words mean two totally different things. (I only do because my english teacher madly gave us a whole note worse if we confused that in dictation tests. See I'm traumatised) :P

Thaumiel said...

Thanks. :)