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Swedish ISP to let users shield Internet activity from police

Loek Essers | Nov. 19, 2014
Swedes have started to sign up for a free service from ISP Bahnhof to hide their Internet communications metadata from the police, and the company's CEO is urging other European ISPs to follow suit.

However, the PTS isn't so sure that the service is exempt from the data retention law. From a legal perspective, the VPN service could be deemed to be run by Bahnhof, said Steffan Lindmark, legal advisor at the PTS. At the moment, the PTS cannot rule out this possibility because the authority hasn't yet looked into the matter.

However, there are no plans to do that, Lindmark said. There have been similar VPN services offered in Sweden by others and the PTS has never heard complaints about them from the police. And as long as Bahnhof starts retaining data again on Monday, all should be fine. "We will wait for an indication they are not following the law before we do anything with Bahnhof again," Lindmark said.

Karlung thinks more European ISPs should follow Bahnhof's example, and that European consumers should put pressure on their ISPs to offer this type of service.


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