Friday, September 10, 2010

Supreme Court rules that IP addresses are personal data in file-sharing case

The Supreme Court of Switzerland ruled that IP addresses constitute as personal data in an 8 September 2010 case involving a company, Logistep AG, which had collected, without consent, the IP addresses of internet users who were illegally downloading copyrighted materials using peer-to-peer software. The company – which then passed on the details of those users to copyright holders for a fee - was held to have violated the Swiss Data Protection Act.

Logistep AG had developed software in 2008 to research which works were being offered online on peer-to-peer networks without the author's consent. Whenever one of these works was downloaded illegally, the software would record and store the data relating to the download. This data was then sold to members of music and film industries interested in protecting their intellectual property, who could identify the owners of the internet connection used for the download and claim compensation for copyright violation.

The Court ruled that, while the interest of Logistep AG to reduce copyright infringement was valid, it did not override or justify the infringement into personal privacy. The method was deemed to have ‘significant interference in the private sphere of each user’, which the state is obliged to protect. Logistep AG must now discontinue all of its activities.

The Swiss Data Protection Authority filed the case at the Supreme Court, after the Federal Administrative Tribunal found in Logistep AG’s favour, ruled that the goal to hunt down those guilty of internet piracy did not require the consent of users.

Copyright (C) 2010 Data Guidance

Friday, September 03, 2010

CAP Code to apply to organisations' own website content and social networking sites

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) have extended the scope of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP Code) to cover, from 1 March 2011, marketing communications on an organisation's own website and in other non-paid-for online space under a company's control, such as social networking sites. Currently, the Code applies to sales promotions wherever they appear but only to other marketing communications in paid-for online space. However, the Code's remit is to be extended in response to a formal recommendation from a wide cross-section of UK industry. As CAP accepts that it may be difficult to decide what marketing communications are covered by the new rules, it has set out a new three-step test to assist. The change represents a major extension to the remit of the ASA and CAP. Organisations have six months to ensure that their websites and other online space under their control comply with the code. The extended remit follows the introduction of a new CAP Code and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) Advertising Standards Code on 1 September 2010.

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