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Banking privacy more important than internet piracy, says court

Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, in an attempt to locate the owner of a file sharing site, pressured a bank to release the owner's personal details.

FTD was a usenet community founded in 2001 with around half a million members, the largest in the Netherlands. The site shares movies, music and TV shows; activities which caught the interest of Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, who labeled FTD as a criminal operation. In February of 2011, the Harleem Court ruled that FTD was promoting the uploading of infringing material and ordered the community to remove listings of copyrighted files. FTD disappeared soon after.

At this point, BREIN set their sights for FTD World, a site offering similar services to FTD. BREIN discovered a bank account that was linked to the site and demanded that ING, one of the largest banks in the Netherlands, should disclose the account holder's personal information. Citing the Data Protection Act, ING refused to comply. The case went to court, and now the dutch courts have decided that ING has no obligation to play ball with BREIN.


Heh, if only it was that easy to… oh wait. It is that easy.


The courts recognized that while BREIN does have responsibilities towards stopping copyright infringers, ING has responsibilities towards protecting their clients' privacy. Between those two, banking privacy is more important. “Under data protection law, you can only use personal information for proper and clearly defined legal goals. Using information for different goals requires an extraordinary interest that outweighs the privacy of the person involved,” says Arnoud Engelfriet, a lawyer specializing in internet law, “The court says that because of the important position a bank plays in society, this is a really high bar to meet and BREIN has not met it.”


The court informed BREIN that it had other avenues to go down to acquire the information, but that it hadn't tried. For example, nobody had contacted the Russian hosting provider mentioned next to the bank details. BREIN claimed it was likely a money mule and asking the host where the money went would have been pointless, but the courts pointed out that they can't know that unless they try. Finally, BREIN was also told it failed to back up its claims of criminal activity in FTD World with an appropriate complaint to the authorities.


“This is not acceptable to us. Fraudsters and scammers can not trust that banks will not pass on their data,” said Tim Kuik of BREIN, disappointed in the ruling.


Source: Torrent Freak

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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