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Sweden: IP numbers are personal...unless you're a pirate

Court ruling no defense

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A ruling from a Swedish court that IP numbers should be considered personal data will not have any impact on the country's recently passed anti-piracy law.

The Swedish Supreme Administrative Court ruled today that IP numbers should be considered personal information. This is a hot topic because copyright holders routinely use IP numbers to identify people they accuse of illegal file sharing. IP numbers, although issued to a computer, can often be easily tracked back to an individual.

But a policy adviser at Sweden's ministry of Justice told the Register: "The rumours that this decision will kill off IPRED [Sweden's anti-Pirate Bay law] are wrong, because the bill creating the law includes an exemption for rights holders - they may request and keep IP numbers for this purpose."

An early version of this story suggested that the court ruling could effectively kill off attempts to trace Swedish file sharers. There's a Google translated version of the new version here.

Sweden's data protection regulator will look at the implications of IPRED in the autumn. ®

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