IPRED Law Immediately Affects Swedish Internet Traffic | ISPs As Online Police Force

1 min read

The new Swedish anti-piracy law based on the European IPRED directive has cut Internet traffic overnight. Which copyright-holders will see as an obvious victory. But is it right to expect ISPs to act as a global online police force?

The new piracy law in Sweden, which came into effect on April 1, has had an immediate effect on the levels of Internet traffic. This would seem to suggest that not only is online file-sharing of copyrighted material rife in Sweden, but that many people who have previously taken part in the practice have been spooked by the new law.


IPRED (Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive) is a European Commission directive which Sweden has fully embraced. At least its government has – the public are slightly less crazy about the idea.

In a nutshell, IPRED puts power back in the hands of copyright holders. Rather than having to go through official channels, such as the police, in order to take action against suspected file-sharers, they can now go directly to the ISP (Internet Service Provider) concerned and forcibly obtain details of members of the public.

Sweden = The Pirate Bay


, a Swedish company measuring Internet traffic coming in and out of the country, has released figures showing what effect the new law has had almost instantly. Average traffic has fallen from 200 Gbit/sec to just 80 Gbits/sec, a 60 percent drop which can only be attributed to the law coming into effect.

The Pirate Bay is, of course, based in Sweden. The popular torrent tracker is currently waiting to hear the verdict of the case brought by the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) and several copyright-holders against four people known to be involved in the site. The verdict is expected to be announced on or around April 17.


Despite arguing that it was only one small part of the piracy chain, The Pirate Bay has tried to ease the worries of people affected by IPRED and its contemporary laws around the world by introducing IPREDator. This is a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service which will help keep TPB’s legion of users’ details safe from prying eyes, rendering the new law completely ineffective. But it’ll cost you.

ISPs As Online Police Force

My biggest problem with this law, and the numerous other similar ones that seem to be getting passed around the world is its reliance on the ISPs we subscribe to for our Broadband. Turning them into the eyes and ears of the law, and insisting they give up details on their customers is, for me, an insult to the very idea of an honest business/customer relationship.

What’s inevitable is that as these laws take hold measures will be developed to counter them. For ever country which turns ISPs into the global online police force, there will be an IPREDator-like service to maintain people’s anonymity.