Telia’s mistake: Published information to a pirate law firm

For several years Swedes have received letters of demand for alleged file sharing, in many cases sent by various law firms. The method has received a lot of attention and has similar to blackmail, because the right holder says he is willing to drop the “target” if a sum of a few thousand kronor is paid into them. Not infrequently, these are erotic films with a high embarrassment factor.

The law firms know who to send the letters to because the IP addresses used for downloading can identify real people via Internet operators. Whether these are obliged to disclose the information is decided in the Patent and Market Court. There are evidentiary requirements that must be met for the operator to be considered obliged to disclose the information.

On February 4, 2020, just such a decision was made, where Telia was deemed obliged to disclose certain customers’ information to the law firm Next Advokater. But in other cases, it was ordered that the customer’s information would not be disclosed.

Despite this, Telia instead disclosed the information of all customers – even those that the Patent and Market Court, for lack of evidence, would firmly keep secret. It reveals a review of DN. In total, there will be 55 clients who have had their information incorrectly disclosed by Telia to the law firm.

The operator himself draws attention to his mistake in a report, where the mistake is established and the risk of negative consequences for the victims is assessed as high. Whether they actually received a letter of demand is unclear because the law firm does not want to answer DN’s questions. Customers must have been informed by Telia who regretted their mistake.

To DN, the operator simply writes that they regularly review their processes to reduce the risk that something similar will happen in the future.