VPNs: which ones value your privacy?

Torrentfreak has published its annual survey of privacy-oriented VPN services, digging into each one's technical, legal and business practices to see how seriously they take the business of protecting your privacy. Read the rest

Swedish ISP will anonymize all its users' traffic

TorrentFreak has some nice technical details on Bahnhof, the Swedish ISP that hosts (among other things), Wikileaks. The firm responded to IPRED, Sweden's batshit copyright spying law, by switching off its logs, so that putative copyright holders would not get anything if they tried to use IPRED's easy-peasy sneak-and-peek warrants. Now that Sweden is about to adopt the EU's rules that require all ISPs to begin logging, Bahnhof will insist that all its customers use an anonymizing proxy, so it can no longer tell what its customers are doing. Customers who want to make it easy to be spied upon can opt out for about $8/month.

Since the service will encrypt user traffic, not even Bahnhof will know what their customers are doing online. If the ISP doesn't know about their activities, then there's not much to log. Nothing to log means there's nothing useful to hand over to authorities and anti-piracy companies.

"Technically, this is a stealth section, we will store all data up to this point of invisibility," adds Karlung, referring to the first-hop connection the customer makes with the company's servers when going online.

"What happens after that is not our responsibility and is outside Bahnhof. So the only thing we are going to store is very little information, which in practice will be irrelevant."

Wikileaks ISP Anonymizes All Customer Traffic To Beat Spying

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New Zealand proposes "guilty until proven innocent" copyright law to punish accused infringers

New Zealand's three-strikes Internet law is back. Under this proposed copyright law, people who are accused without proof of multiple copyright infringements can eventually face disconnection from the Internet, along with their families. A substantively similar law was passed and then rescinded in 2009, after enormous public outcry. The parliamentary committee responsible for the legislation describes it as being based on the presumption of guilt (not innocence, as is customary in democratic societies).

Such fines would be levied by a Copyright Tribunal after a particular account holder racked up several notices, and these notices would adopt a "guilty until proven innocent" approach. As the committee report puts it, "an infringement notice establishes a presumption that infringement has occurred, but this would be open to rebuttal where an account holder had valid reasons, in which case a rights holder would have to satisfy the tribunal that the presumption was correct. We consider that such a change would fulfill more effectively the aim of having an efficient 'fast-track' system for copyright owners to obtain remedies for infringements."

It's hard to argue with the logic of speed here; creating a presumption of liability certainly will "fast-track" the process, though concerns about accuracy remain. As a New Zealand legal blogger noted this week, almost one-third of all New Zealand copyright litigation fails because rightsholders can't actually show they own the copyright and that the copyright is governed by New Zealand law. And Google has previously indicated that large percentages of the infringement claims it routinely receives are defective in some way.

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