Today, the Swedish Pirate Party launched a new Internet service that lets anybody send and receive files and information over the Internet without fear of being monitored or logged. In technical terms, such a network is called a “darknet”. The service allows people to use an untraceable address in the darknet, where they cannot be personally identified.
“There are many legitimate reasons to want to be completely anonymous on the Internet,” says Rickard Falkvinge, chairman of the Pirate Party. “If the government can check everything each citizen does, nobody can keep the government in check. The right to exchange information in private is fundamental to the democratic society. Without a safe and convenient way of accessing the Internet anonymously, this right is rendered null and void.”
File sharing of music, films, and other forms of culture is where the surveillance of Internet addresses has attracted the most attention, largely because the entertainment industry has been so aggressive in suing Internet users for copyright infringement, suing college students and single mothers alike without concern.
“But there are much more fundamental values at stake here than copyright,” Rickard Falkvinge says. “The new technology has brought society to a crossroads. The only way to enforce today’s unbalanced copyright laws is to monitor all private communications over the Internet. Today’s copyright regime cannot coexist with an open society that guarantees the right to private communication.”
“Until we have changed the laws to ensure that citizens’ right to privacy is respected, we have a moral obligation to protect the citizens from the effects of the current routine surveillance,” Falkvinge continues. “This is our technical means to do just that.”
The service is provided by the Swedish high-tech company Relakks, which offers a neutral IP on top of your existing ISP service through a strongly encrypted VPN connection. Basically, this gives users the advantage of a Swedish IP address from anywhere in the world.
The cost of the service is 5 euros per month, and it is available now at www.relakks.com. A portion of the subscription fees will go towards the Pirate Party’s work in changing the copyright and privacy laws and making the service obsolete.