Sweden's high court sends IP-data protection conflict to the ECJ
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Deutsch: Oberster Schwedischer Gerichtshof verweist Streit um Schutz von IP-Adr...
The Swedish ISP TeliaSonera has recently received a decision at the Swedish Supreme Court that questions a 2009 court decision forcing it to hand over the identity of SweTorrents BitTorrent site operator.
In 2009, four movie studios represented by anti-piracy group Antipiratbyran took TeliaSonera to Södertörn District Court which forced the ISP to reveal the identity of the respective file-sharer.
The anti-piracy group as well as the court considered that, based on Sweden's IPRED (Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive) legislation, ISPs had the obligation to reveal to rightholders the identity of customers involved in copyright infringement cases. The provider refused to comply arguing that ISPs had the fundamental right to protect their customers' privacy and pointing out the conflicts between IPRED and the European Data Protection Directive.
TeliaSonera appealed, but in May 2010, the Court of Appeal upheld the District Court's decision, ruling that the ISP would face a fine amounting to about 80 000 euro in case of non-compliance. TeliaSonera appealed again taking the case to the Supreme Court which has now ruled to postpone the decision and send the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg in order to clarfy the conflict between data protection and IP enforcement provisions.
"It is good that the Supreme Court shares our view that there must be a balance between the interests in matters of principle and that court has now therefore decided that TeliaSonera's case should await the ECJ ruling, "said Patrick Hiselius, TeliaSonera's lawyer.
This means that a final decision in the matter might take a few years. And, as there is nothing in the Swedish Electronic Communications Law that obliges ISPs to store information about the IP addresses of their customers, Telia, as well as the other ISPs, will be free to stop storing data or delete data in order to protect the privacy of their customers. At least until the data retention directive is implemented in Sweden.
ISPs Free To Continue Deleting Evidence Against File-Sharers (7.12.2010)
Supreme Court decision on IPRED (only in Swedish, updated 6.12.2010)
EDRi-gram: The new Swedish anti-piracy law stirs things for file sharers