MP3-player supplier Jens of Sweden and Jonas Birgersson (founder of broadband supplier Bredband2) have reported the Anti-Piracy Agency to the Swedish Data Inspection Board (SDI).
The complaint to the SDI was precipitated by the Anti-Piracy Agency’s introduction of computer software enabling them to register thousands of Swedes on a daily basis (IP-numbers and surf behaviour on P2P-networks), register illegal behaviour and prompt the ISP’s to send warning letters or add them to the 136 complaint cases with the police.
Jens and Jonas have filed their complaint on the basis that it is illegal to archive information that purports to, and can be linked to, individual data (i.e. IP-numbers that can be linked to subscribers) and to try to link this to criminal actions.
Perhaps getting a little carried away, Jens and Bredband have labelled the authority’s “vigilante behaviour” to be “the equivalent of Stasi registration”.
The accusers see the current “witch-hunt” and the severe breach of personal integrity as a serious problem, which threatens the growth of digital media in the long run.
Bredband2 has already received queries from the police based on the agency’s registrations.
“As society becomes ever-more digitised and everyday activities are increasingly being pursued over the Internet, individuals need strong integrity protection,” says Jonas Birgersson, CEO of Bredband2.
“We take our lead from the serious attitude of the former national telephone company, Televerket, regarding ‘tele-confidentiality’.
One of the cornerstones of a functioning society is faith in authorities and businesses, with the principles of transparency for authorities and integrity for individuals.
Is it right for a lobby organisation to undermine this by hunting and registering thousands of citizens every day – which they freely admit in their press releases?
Besides, we think that terrorizing and persecuting the users is the wrong method. Instead, we should popularise and support all the great Swedish companies that develop unique digital services. Stop the witch-hunt and support the legal alternatives.”
Jens Nylander, founder and CEO of Sweden’s largest supplier of digital media players, Jens of Sweden was equally outraged:
“We have every opportunity for explosive growth, cheaper products and new jobs in the digital media, but that won’t happen until a handful of giant companies stops trying to tie down consumers to their own products and prices with heavy-handed methods.
The Anti-Piracy Agency’s method of spying on, secretly registering and threatening people may have been encouraged in the former East Germany, but must be banned in modern Sweden.”
In Sweden, the Data Inspection Board is responsible for enforcing the Personal Data Act of 1998, which heavily restricts the right of individual players to register citizens without their express consent.
Jens Nylander and Jonas Birgersson have contacted the Data Inspection Board, which encouraged them to register a formal complaint.
The Swedish police have prosecuted 136 people for illegal file sharing after complaints from the AP-agency, and the agency has vowed to increase the number.
The complaint will be turned in within a week.