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"host activist...advocates a radical conception of freedom of expression"
September 7, 2010 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Swedish webhost PRQ, home of The Pirate Bay and WikiLeaks, has been raided by police.

The raid was part of an ongoing international crackdown on movie and TV piracy. According to authorities, the target of the raid was not Wikileaks but rather the host itself, "who advocates a radical conception of freedom of expression, including...hosting the download site The Pirate Bay or sites advocating pedophilia."

14 European countries are said to be involved in an operation two years in the making, targeting the "Warez Scene".
posted by Pastabagel (44 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder what the ROI is for this kind of operation. It reminds me a lot of the war on drugs for it's efficacy, i.e. there is not a lot of it.
posted by shinybaum at 11:02 AM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


wow
posted by Addiction at 11:04 AM on September 7, 2010


Radical Freedom is my new campaign slogan.
posted by swift at 11:04 AM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll start worrying when they manage to take down Rapidshare.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:05 AM on September 7, 2010


"or advocating pedophilia" from now on is going to be my goto to discredit things I don't like. It could be the new Godwin! Let's try it out.

I can't stand people who wear socks with sandals or advocate pedophilia!

Feels good, man.
posted by boubelium at 11:16 AM on September 7, 2010 [20 favorites]


It's bigger than an attempt to take out Pirate Bay and/or Wikileaks:
It appears that a number of other locations in Sweden have been the subject of police action, including Stockholm, Malmö, Umeå university and Eskilstuna.

Four individuals are said to be being questioned on suspicion of breaching copyright law. Servers and computers are reported to have been seized.

Simultaneous raids are also said to have been carried out in The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Germany, Great Britain, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Pirate Bay is in no way part of "The Scene," which largely operates as a closed private system, versus the very public and open P2P world of Pirate Bay. The additional information mentioned above makes it sound more like a Scene bust than a hit on Pirate Bay in specific (though that could have been a bonus of this all). I would imagine anyone trying to run part of a private network of copyright breaching would want to stay away from the servers of known copyright breaching facilitators like Pirate Bay, who are already in the public spotlight.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:16 AM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clarification: Pirate Bay, or any other torrent tracker, could track material that originated from The Scene, but the intention for The Scene is to keep things private, even though that's rather hard with an international network of couriers and hosts.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:19 AM on September 7, 2010


I wonder what happens to earnest would-be journalist types that they end up so craven in their need to rim the assholes of the rich and powerful that they parrot lines like "or sites advocating pedophilia" with a straight face, as though that were the thing keeping MPAA executives up at night.
posted by enn at 11:20 AM on September 7, 2010 [17 favorites]


I won't click any of these links with a 10 foot wang.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:20 AM on September 7, 2010


Whew, good thing I got all those copies of ... OW. ow. ow. stop hitting me. ow. WTF, dude? Ow. Hey. Whoa. You can't. Ow. Wait. Hey. Stop. GURGLE. GURGLE. Spppfft. Hey. GURGLE. GURGLE. OK, fine, I'll tell where I hid Adobe After Effects.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:22 AM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pirate Bay and Wikileaks in the same server farm? Damn.
posted by DU at 11:24 AM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, yes, I'm sure this is entirely related to torrent hosts and has nothing at all to do with WikiLeaks. Uh huh.

(Although "two years in the making" is a nice touch to add credibility to the idea of raiding torrent sites. Does anyone use torrents anymore, now that ISPs are throttling like mad and the sites are crawling with MPAA fakes? Yeesh, they might as well hit Kazaa while they're at it.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:26 AM on September 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


"or sites advocating pedophilia" just reminds me of something a shrieking Helen Lovejoy (from the Simpsons) would say, right before "WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?!"
posted by deadmessenger at 11:27 AM on September 7, 2010


"...who advocates a radical conception of freedom of expression..."

*bangs head against wall*
posted by kbanas at 11:28 AM on September 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


According to Wikipedia, PRQ does host NAMBLA. But their cite is another newspaper article, so who knows.

Does anyone use torrents anymore, now that ISPs are throttling like mad and the sites are crawling with MPAA fakes?

I think in 5-10 years, I've seen a single fake. Probably depends what you are looking for. As for if anyone uses them anymore, I think the answer is yes.
posted by DU at 11:30 AM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


As for if anyone uses them anymore, I think the answer is yes.

WELL I DON'T!!!

Quiet, you.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:31 AM on September 7, 2010


It reminds me a lot of the war on drugs for it's efficacy, i.e. there is not a lot of it.

And it has similar problems in that tough enforcement causes operations to shift more towards organized crime. The hosts for file-sharing sites have progressively gotten shadier and shadier to the point where they now seem to be concentrated in countries with very corrupt governments and large amounts of organized crime. Even if every country in the world cracked down on these types of sites and removed them from the Internet, the same people would figure out a way to create a better darknet and make the system even less transparent. The "warez scene" has always been mostly run by teenagers on their home phone lines/Internet connections, but now instead of telephone companies racking up most of the profits from it, it's shady Eastern European ISPs.

Clarification: Pirate Bay, or any other torrent tracker, could track material that originated from The Scene, but the intention for The Scene is to keep things private, even though that's rather hard with an international network of couriers and hosts.

The Pirate Bay kind of does their own thing, but a lot of private trackers have more connections with the scene. A lot of the same people are involved in both. It's not uncommon to see a raid on a topsite end up shutting down private trackers, or vice-versa.

Does anyone use torrents anymore, now that ISPs are throttling like mad and the sites are crawling with MPAA fakes?

A lot of people seem to be using seedboxes these days, which gets around the ISP throttling and mitigates the legal risk. I'm not sure what you mean by sites crawling with fakes though, the scene is still cranking out perfect rips of pretty much anything released and there are plenty of private and public trackers that host the torrents for them.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:42 AM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, yes, I'm sure this is entirely related to torrent hosts and has nothing at all to do with WikiLeaks. Uh huh.

Well, it would help if Assange had took some pains to distance himself from the Pirate Bay people. Which he most certainly hasn't. Indeed, their close association has made me even more cynical about WikiLeaks than WikiLeaks' "do what we say, not what we do" approach to disclosure and transparency (yeah, yeah, yeah, they have reasons to keep mum about their backers and stuff. Guess what? So do the people they're leaking from!)
posted by Skeptic at 11:51 AM on September 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Demonoid for the win.

Looks like the "pirate" world will be going back down to private collection servers with membership verification, etc, etc, soon.

Back to the days of Hotwire servers. Yay. All your base...
posted by daq at 12:02 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Skeptic: Waitaminutewaitaminutewaitaminute! The servers being raided belong to the Pirate Party?

That seems like a much bigger story than the one being reported.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:05 PM on September 7, 2010


That seems like a much bigger story than the one being reported.

I don't think it's news.
posted by floam at 12:13 PM on September 7, 2010


The Pirate Party are a legitimate political party with two seats in the EU parliament. A criminal investigation against such an entity is a pretty big deal, IMO.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:22 PM on September 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd be willing to bet that this has less to do with Pirate Bay and more to do with Wikileaks.
posted by crunchland at 12:24 PM on September 7, 2010


Pirate Bay is not on PRQ and this had nothing to do with Wikileaks. Or PRQ's hosting habits. One of the other targets in this crackdown was a server at the University of Umeå.

And no this is not the Pirate Party servers, where a mirror of WL supposedly is hosted. Those servers are in a different facility with no relation to PRQ.

Sometimes a piracy crackdown is just a piracy crackdown.
posted by mr.marx at 12:30 PM on September 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, it's about Top Sites, not torrent sites.
posted by mr.marx at 12:31 PM on September 7, 2010


"According to authorities, the target of the raid was not Wikileaks but rather the host itself"

This has no basis in any of the links, nor in reality. No authority have said that. The target was hosted at PRQ. The target was not PRQ.
posted by mr.marx at 12:34 PM on September 7, 2010


Sounds like one of the more amateur hour distribution groups got busted.
posted by mek at 12:58 PM on September 7, 2010


This also reeks of a failed bust being covered up by a media blitz. Apparently "four people are being questioned" which is a pretty terrible result after raiding 14 locations.
posted by mek at 1:04 PM on September 7, 2010


The Pirate Party are a legitimate political party with two seats in the EU parliament.

It's also a pretty shameless front for a criminal corporation that received seed funding from a notorious far right millionaire. I don't want to Godwin this thread, but there are also Nazis with seats in the European Parliament, and sitting there doesn't make them a iota more respectable. (And don't talk me about parliamentary immunity. This other rotten bastard already abused his seat in the EP to escape prosecution once.)
posted by Skeptic at 1:29 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Demonoid for the win.
allow me to experience some downtime before i respond.
posted by the aloha at 1:31 PM on September 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Four people are being questioned in Sweden, where there were 7 raids. Two at ISP:s and one at a university. These three were about finding info about certain ip's traced to these facilities. The remaining four raids targeted individual suspects, in their homes.
posted by mr.marx at 1:38 PM on September 7, 2010


WikiLeaks’ ISP Raided by Swedish Police (But not Because of WikiLeaks)

In other news: Assange ditches lawyer as rape probe rumbles on
posted by homunculus at 1:40 PM on September 7, 2010


Skeptic: The Pirate Party and The Pirate Bay are not the same people. Until the Pirate Party recently, as a publicity stunt (Sweden has elections coming up next weekend), offered to host The Pirate Bay, there have been no connections what so ever. In fact, the TPB guys were not happy at all with having a political party riding their tail.
posted by mr.marx at 1:43 PM on September 7, 2010


Addendum: The ideological home of The Pirate Bay is the now defunct Pirate Beaureu. Also not connected to the Pirate Party.
posted by mr.marx at 1:54 PM on September 7, 2010


I don't think anyone's been "raided." PRQ sent this out earlier today, saying the only effect was that they had a bit of a ticket backlog due to time spent talking to the police:

http://pastebin.com/fXF1tN08

PRQ services have been up and running the whole time:

http://status.noisebridge.net/cgi-bin/smokeping.cgi?target=PRQ

This smells like someone at the press was a little trigger happy with their facts.
posted by thalakan at 2:42 PM on September 7, 2010


The email thalakan kindly refers to went out to update PRQ customers. But did any "news" website actually try to contact PRQ for comment?

Something along the lines of "tried to contact PRQ for comment.." or "PRQ refused to comment.." or "PRQ issued the following statement", etc
posted by feneon at 3:06 PM on September 7, 2010


It's also a pretty shameless front for a criminal corporation that received seed funding from a notorious far right millionaire. I don't want to Godwin this thread, but there are also Nazis with seats in the European Parliament, and sitting there doesn't make them a iota more respectable. (And don't talk me about parliamentary immunity. This other rotten bastard already abused his seat in the EP to escape prosecution once.)

I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. If said Nazis were raided, I'd expect that to be a pretty big story, too.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:08 PM on September 7, 2010


It's also a pretty shameless front for a criminal corporation that received seed funding from a notorious far right millionaire.

What's so weird about a party that seeks to change copyright laws offering to host an organisation that was made to pay damages under these same copyright laws? The funding angle is more interesting.
posted by ersatz at 4:36 PM on September 7, 2010


The funding angle is more interesting.

If you mean this, from Skeptic's frankly pretty biased looking comment,
Petter Nilsson, a candidate on the Swedish political reality show Toppkandidaterna (The Top Candidates), donated 35,000 SEK (US$4,925.83) to The Pirate Bay, which they used to buy new servers.
I would say that $4,925.83 is hardly enough funding to establish a secret volcano super villain's type lair. More like three Dells and a laptop.
posted by Trochanter at 5:40 PM on September 7, 2010


The Pirate Party are a legitimate political party with two seats in the EU parliament. A criminal investigation against such an entity is a pretty big deal, IMO.

Whoops, I agree! I misunderstood you, I thought what you were getting at was along the lines of "Holy crap a political party is behind the pirate bay!".
posted by floam at 7:02 PM on September 7, 2010


And I thought my Sons of Norway relatives were just being old country crazy when talking smack about the Swedes and their love of the fascists.
posted by humanfont at 8:40 PM on September 7, 2010


the Swedes and their love of the fascists.

Unlke the Pirate Party, Sverigedemokraterna has a good chance to get elected to the Swedish Parliament. Links go to their "old white lady vs burkha-ladies with baby strollers" campaign advert, that Swedish TV4 refused to air.
posted by iviken at 5:40 AM on September 8, 2010


If you mean this, from Skeptic's frankly pretty biased looking comment,

I meant this: In April 2007, a rumor was confirmed on the Swedish talk show Bert that The Pirate Bay had received financial support from right-wing entrepreneur Carl Lundström. [...] The size of Lundström's contributions is unknown, as are his motives. During the talk show, Piratbyrån spokesman Tobias Andersson acknowledged that "without Lundström's support, Pirate Bay would not have been able to start" and claimed that most of the money went towards acquiring servers and bandwidth.[35][36]
posted by ersatz at 5:46 AM on September 8, 2010


Demonoid for the win.

Anybody want an invite?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:55 AM on September 8, 2010


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