Untraceable, safe, and secure says Pirate Party

A political group in Sweden calling itself the Pirate Party claims that it has introduced a new service called a "darknet" which allows users to connect to the Internet using an IP based in Sweden. Representatives from the Pirate Party claim that customers should be allowed to use their Internet access services without fear of any government bodies snooping on what they are doing online. The Pirate Party claims that its new service is "untraceable" and is provided by a Swedish company called Relakks.

Reading through Relakks' FAQs however, shows that under some circumstances, information can be revealed. Customer information such as account signup information can be handed over to authorities if necessary requirements are met such as if a user is convicted of jail time. Relakks also says that it will hand of traffic information if a customer is convicted of two years minimal jail time. According to the Pirate Party however "File sharing of music, films, and other forms of culture is where the surveillance of Internet addresses has attracted the most attention, largely because the entertainment industry has been so aggressive in suing Internet users for copyright infringement, suing college students and single mothers alike without concern."

The service use virtual private network (VPN) technology, connecting users over to servers located in Sweden. This means that users will be browsing websites or exchanging data through a Swedish IP, physically located in Sweden. All Internet access data is piped from a website, to Sweden, through VPN back to a user's local ISP, and then to the user's PC. Relakks says that:

  • Your existing ISP will not be able to intercept and track your applications or communication
  • Your existing ISP can not limit what you can do nor limit what information you can access
  • Other organizations or individuals can’t intercept or track your applications or communication.

With Swedish authorities, Relakks must comply to demands under the above stated situations, but Relakks claims that it will never hand over any information to authorities from other countries. This however, does not mean that authorities from the US can not cooperate with authorities in Sweden.

ThePirateBay, a large website dedicated to tracking bittorrent files, had its computers seized by Swedish police. The authorities claimed that ThePirateBay gave users a means to trade and download copy protected software and media such as games, movies and music. Unfortunately, ThePirateBay website itself did not store any data that violated copyrighted works and the site was up and operational again in a matter of a few short days.

The Pirate Party claims that with Relakks, it has introduced the first commercially available "darknet" service. However, a French company called SecurStar Ltd. has been offering a similar service for roughly two years. SecurStar also appears to allow users to select their IP address' location, such as Germany, the Netherlands or Hong Kong. Prices for SecurStar's services start at about 6.6 Euros per month whereas Relakks says its service costs 5 Euros per month.

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