Tuesday, April 12, 2005

French Data Protection Authority Allows P2P Monitoring


(Sell anti-piracy poster: "All pirates will end one day by engraving the same game")
The French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) has decided that the software industry may track and monitor file exchanges on P2P networks. The software lobbying organisation SELL is allowed to send "piracy prevention messages" to file-sharers and collect their IP addresses in databases. These are common anti-piracy practices and widely used.

In Sweden the collection of IP addresses by the national anti-piracy organisation
was reported to the Swedish Data Inspection Board, because "it is illegal to archive information that purports to, and can be linked to, individual data (i.e. IP-numbers that can be linked to subscribers) and to try to link this to criminal actions." While the Swedes still have to decide, the French now have.

CNIL said that IP addresses will only get a "personal character within the framework of a legal procedure". It also thought that the actions presented by
"SELL were likely to preserve a balance between the protection of the rights of the people of which data are processed and the protection of the rights from which the authors and other rightsholder profit." [translation mine-RL]

Interesting to call this the "preservation" of a balance. That's a new balance then, with less privacy protection due to increased monitoring and registration of individual internet behaviour. You can argue that this provides the preferred balance, but it certainly does not preserve the (in)balance that was.

- - -
Thru Audionautes
CNIL on its decision [French]

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