Swedish Law Still Keeping 'Net Traffic Down

STOCKLHOLM -- Sweden's recently enacted antipiracy law continues to keep that nation's Internet traffic way down, according to monitoring organization Netnod.

After Sweden's "IPRED" law took effect April 1, traffic dropped from average data speeds of about 160 gigabits per second to roughly 90 and stayed that way. AVN.com reported on this traffic shift several weeks ago.

Netnod has not stated a connection between the new law and traffic drop and major Swedish Internet service providers won't release their own statistics. But one ISP, Bahnhof, has no doubt that IPRED is responsible.

 "Almost half the Internet is gone," CEO Jon Karlung told CNET. "Likely, it is the torrent traffic that has declined, but I cannot say whether this traffic is legal or illegal."

IPRED, which is based on the European Union's International Property Rights Enforcement Directive, says property rights holders can ask a court to determine if the name of an accused infringer and their personal information can be released via the host ISP. Rights holders pressed chargers from the law's first day, including audio-book publishers. 

Bahnhof said his company will not release names connected to IP addresses, based on another EU directive that allows protection, stating ISPs must erase traffic data to protect a subscribers' integrity.

"It's about the freedom to choose, and the law makes it possible to retain details. We're not acting in breach of IPRED; we're following the law and choosing to destroy the details," Karlung told Swedish news agency TT.

Meanwhile, another Swedish proposal regarding data storage, based on yet another EU directive, is expected in June and could force ISPs such as Bahnhof to store and share its data with law enforcement and government judicial bodies.

"It is this Orwellian nightmare state that is developing, where no one sees the dynamic of the Internet," Karlung told CNET. However, if the government does enact a law that directs companies to provide user data, his company will then cooperate.

"If the state decides that everything has to be handed over to various private organisations, then we will of course comply, even if I think it's unfortunate and hope public opinion pushes the matter in a different direction," he said, reports The Local.

The Swedish justice ministry confirmed that Bahnhof is currently not breaking the law by choosing to destroy IP address details.

"The IPRED regulations do not entail any obligation of this kind. They are only concerned with the retrieval of existing information," a representative said.

The law is not related to the Pirate Bay trial, which while still in appeal based on last week's guilty verdict, ended before the law took effect.