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Swedish Pirate Party Launches Anonymous ISP

The Swedish anti-copyright Pirate Party is helping users share content privately – and delivering bandwidth to the Pirate Bay torrent site

The Swedish Pirate Party (PiratPartiet) has announced plans to launch the world’s first “Pirate ISP” – a broadband service that will allow users to share BitTorrent files anonymously online, while providing financial support to the Party – which argues against copyright.

In an interview with tech blog TorrentFreak, Gustav Nipe, CEO of the new Pirate ISP service, said that the move was part of an attempt to tackle the “big brother society”.

“The Pirate ISP is needed in different ways,” said Nipe. “One is to compete with other ISPs, let them fight more for our Internet. If they don’t behave there will always be someone else taking their share.”

Hopes for expansion

The service has begun beta testing at an affordable housing organisation in the city of Lund. Nipe hopes to take 5 percent of the market in Lund, before expanding to other locations in Sweden.

Protecting the privacy of its customers will be the main priority of the ISP service, and the Pirate Party claims that any attempt by the government to force it to monitor users will result in a constitutional issue. Any attempts by the United Stated to interfere will also be rebuffed, according to Nipe.

“They can bring on whatever they have, we will refuse to follow there. We don’t agree with what they are saying and we don’t agree with the laws they are making so if they have an issue with us, then we will have an issue – but that’s it,” he said.

The Pirate Bay

Back in May, PiratPartiet took over the delivery of bandwidth to notorious BitTorrent tracker, The Pirate Bay. The decision came after The Pirate Bay was taken offline by its bandwidth provider, following an injunction obtained by several major Hollywood movie studios.

“We got tired of Hollywood’s cat and mouse game with the Pirate Bay so we decided to offer the site bandwidth,” said the Party’s Rick Falkvinge in a statement at the time. “It is time to take the bull by the horns and stand up for what we believe is a legitimate activity.”

The Party is reportedly prepared to use Parliamentary immunity to protect The Pirate Bay. The party has two Euro MPs in Sweden (adjusted up from the one it initially won), but only scored 0.63 percent in national elections – not enough to give it a seat. According to TorrentFreak, the party has said it is prepared to “use Parliamentary immunity to run the site from inside the Swedish Parliament”.

The actions of the Swedish Pirate Party also received the support of Pirate Party UK (PPUK). The British political party is not directly linked to its Swedish counterpart, but does discuss and agree on major policy matters as well as share technical resources.

PPUK highlighted that PiratPartiet was not hosting any part of The Pirate Bay, nor was it routing any material that it did not own the copyright to. It was merely providing a routing service for the site’s home page and search engine – similar to services operated by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.

“Pirate Party UK feels it is important to support the Swedes’ decision to fight against the attack on freedom of expression and culture by the lobbyists within the media umbrella corporations, by standing up for civil liberties and free speech and opposing censorship wherever possible,” said PPUK.

PPUK was contacted for comment on the latest news by eWEEK Europe UK, but did not respond in time for this article.

Amid all this debate, Pirate Bureau, the pro-piracy group that founded The Pirate Bay – Piratbyran – last month disbanded, claiming that it had “had its day”, and “the discussions about file-sharing that Piratbyran wanted to have, are already won”. The group’s decision followed the death of co-founder, Ibi Kopimi Botania, described as “one of our greatest minds”.