Sunday, September 12, 2010

Switzerland: It's not just for hiding looted gold and tax evasion any more

The Swiss love of privacy has been extended to IP addresses. Ars Technica reports that Logistep, one of those snide companies which spies on internet users to see if they're using unlicensed files, isn't welcome in the Alps any more:

Switzerland, which is not an EU member, has decided that it can't sanction Logistep's behavior. The country's Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner, Hanspeter Thür, took Logistep to court and this week won a major victory. The Federal Supreme Court ruled that IP addresses are in fact personal information and that companies like Logistep can't go about slurping them up for mere civil cases like file-swapping lawsuits. Logistep must cease all current copyright infringement data collection.
Logistep, of course, feel this is a bad thing:
Logistep's dueling statement (in German) rounded up a quote from Nikolai Klute, a Hamburg lawyer, who said the decision flew in the face of most other European precedent: "Soon, Switzerland is likely to have the reputation of a safe haven not only for tax evaders, but also for copyright infringers."
Switzerland has always found its tax and banking regime does wonders for its economy. Somehow, I don't think Switzerland is going to abandon privacy because Logistep indulges in name-calling.