Cable reveals that IPRED legislation “might be doing little to stop the problem of illegal file-sharing” since many are now using VPN services and other means to mask their IP addresses.
It was back in February of last year that the Swedish govt passed legislation based on the European Union’s Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED), and thanks to WikiLeaks we finally have the govt’s opinion on its effectiveness.
The legislation was intended to made it easier for police to go after illegal file-sharers, lifting the requirement that they can only pursue those that have committed crimes severe enough to merit 2 or more years of prison time, but as it turns out, Swedish police complain IPRED has made more their job “more difficult,” not less.
“Swedish Police Enforcement officials are complaining that implementation of the IPRED has made it more difficult to solve crimes,” reads the cable. “Swedish Internet Service Providers are saving user information related to IP-numbers for a shorter period of time following the IPRED legislation.”
A number of ISPs began lowering their data retention times to the shortest allowed under the law so as to minimize their customers’ exposure to copyright infringement claims.
The best unintended consequence of IPRED is that many opted to begin masking their IP addresses so as to avoid the scrutiny of law enforcement officials.
“Also, as previously reported (Ref A) the IPRED legislation might be doing little to stop the problem of illegal file-sharing as internet users now are using services which allow them to hide their IP-addresses,” it continues.
Shortly after IPRED took effect Swedish BitTorrent tracker site The Pirate Bay launched the IPREDator VPN service. For a little less than $7 bucks a month the VPN service anonymizes a a subscriber’s IP address. The service has been hugely popular, and is just one of the many VPN services that exist.
It was pointed out earlier this year that despite the controversial IPRED law, Swedish file-sharing is on the rise, and that it’s only targeted 3 people so far and not the 800 or more the govt had anticipated.
“IPRED-law has not had the impact that someone in mind, no matter which side you are on,” said Marcin de Kaminski, a founder of the Swedish Bureau of Piracy, at the time.”
It seems the Swedish police would agree.
No matter what kind of anti-piracy roadblocks govt’s attempt to put in place to combat online copyright infringement file-sharers will always evolve and adapt, and this WikiLeaks cable proves that fact.