Sweden's high court sends IP-data protection conflict to the ECJ

By EDRi · December 15, 2010

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Oberster Schwedischer Gerichtshof verweist Streit um Schutz von IP-Adressen an den EuGH | http://www.unwatched.org/node/2444]

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