Norway: It’s nice to see a country who cares about citizen privacy
It is re-assuring in a point in time where entertainment industry trade groups, like the RIAA, are pressuring governments and ISP by either suing them or helping them write legislation that there are some countries – well one anyway – that isn’t buckling under. At the forefront of putting its citizen’s rights and privacy ahead of those of groups like the RIAA is Norway.
Back on June 10, 2009 the Norwegian agency in charge of data protection instructed two ISP – Tele2 and Lyse Tele – to delete all IP related personal information in their logs that is older than 3 weeks. In addition this instruction will also be applied against the rest of the ISPs in the country.
The fact that data can only be held for just 21 days will see the immediate deletion of IP information held on around 1.6 million subscribers by these Norwegian ISPs. However, the decision flies in the face of European Union rules which say that this type of data must be held for at least 6 months – right now in Norway, data retention can be anything from a few days to five months.
The process of monitoring file-sharers, gathering evidence and then collating it all into an acceptable format can be time consuming. Add this to the time taken to get into the system to obtain a court order from a judge to force the ISPs to hand over data on their customers, and you end up with a period longer than 21 days. By which time the data has gone and the evidence becomes useless, since it’s impossible to identity the alleged infringer.
Now add to this the news out today that the law firm who had been granted a temporary license to monitor the countries ISPs in order to track down alleged pirates and collect their IPs won’t have that license renewed. The law firm of Simonsen used that data collected to gather the IP addresses of alleged pirates and then sue them.
Simonsen lawyer Espen Tøndel told Dagbladet that he was very unhappy with developments. “We believe that the decision is politically justified,” he said, noting that there should be no reason why the license shouldn’t be extended.
Tøndel further said that his law firm will object against the non-renewal of their license but if they fail, he fears that copyright holders will be completely powerless to stop illegal file-sharing.
It’s good to see a country that actually really cares about its citizens rights in this stupid power play. I wonder if they would have room for a cranky old fart of a blogger?