The Swedish pirates seem to have learned their first lesson in politics: It's all about the spin. Today the Pirate Party announced the launch of the "World's First Commercial Darknet" through a Swedish company called Relakks. From the press release:

"Today, the Swedish Pirate Party launched a new Internet service that lets anybody send and receive files and information over the Internet without fear of being monitored or logged. In technical terms, such a network is called a "darknet". The service allows people to use an untraceable address in the darknet, where they cannot be personally identified."

Upon closer inspection this darknet seems to be nothing more than a VPN service that is marketed to end users. From the Relakks website:

"The Service consists of an encrypted VPN tunnel between your computer and RELAKKS. The IP-number you receive from your existing ISP is only used to connect your computer to RELAKKS, from there on RELAKKS substitute your existing IP-number with a new IP-number from RELAKKS."

This actually nothing new at all. One company marketing a similiar service (bundled with other features) aggresively to P2P users is the German Nutzwerk AG.

The Relakks website doesn't really hype the P2P and "darknet" factor of it's product too much, instead just stating that it allows you to "use clients and applications anonymously on the internet". How anonymous you really are isn't too clear either. Their legal section states:

"RELAKKS then have to hand over the subscription information entered by you (but that’s all). RELAKKS do not store any subscribtion information about you except what you entered yourself when signing up for the RELAKKS Safe Surf service. For Swedish authorities to force RELAKKS to hand over “traffic data” including your RELAKKS IP at a specific point in time, they will have to prove a case with the minimum sentence of two years imprisonment."

Now does that mean that they save login information, IP numbers and traffic data or not? And for how long are they keeping the information they save? You would expect that a privacy service offers a better worded privacy policy ...

Another thing that isn't really clear is the connection to the Pirate Party. The party states that it will get some share of th Relakks revenue, but the Relakks website doesn't say anything about that. Also, I'm obviously no expert in Swedish politics, but the idea of a party directly profiting off of a company's product seems a little odd to me - especially if the company would gain from the party being elected.

Finally, who is Relakks? The company's website doesn't offer any imprint or contact information. The registry data however reveals that is owned by Labs 2 - a Swedish broadband aplications developer whose products include "service infrastructure (including portal and business systems) and complete systems to present TV, film and music." I guess they forgot to add that whole thing about the "World's First Commercial Darknet". Or maybe that just doesn't ring that well for a publicly traded company.

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