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08/14 2006 | 01:06 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
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 Relakks.com 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.

01/01 2007 | 08:20 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Is it too late of yet another look back at 2006? Not according to VH1, those folks are still busy reviewing the 80ies. Anyway, here's a quick list of the most popular stories of 2006:

1. Allofmp3 is giving away entire catalogue

2. 60 percent of P2P video downloads are porn

3. Allofmp3 vows to continue despite tougher copyright laws

4. Azureus 3.0 and Zudeo: Some first impressions

5. Germany: P2P lawsuits cost taxpayers millions

6. Allpeers review

7. Rob Lord: Songbird will be more disruptive than Firefox

8. TIOTI: The next step for Bittorrent TV downloading

9. Online Music Recorder: A free replacement for Allofmp3.com?

10. Snocap starts selling MP3s through web widgets

P2P Blog started in early summer 2006, and the first few months were admittedly a little slow, so this list might not be the best indicator for what was really important in the P2P space in 2006. But it's still always nice to take a look back.

Oh, and while we're at it ... here's the list of most requested search engine key phrases that led folks to P2P Blog:

1. relakks
2. allpeers review
3. azureus 3.0
4. redswoosh p2p
5. doubletwist ventures
6. zudeo
7. p2p blog
8. p2p
9. relakks review
10. music for masses

Okay, enough lists and charts. 2006 was an exciting year to start P2P Blog, and I think 2007 will have a lot to offer as well. So stay tuned, and happy new year!

09/11 2006 | 08:35 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
150 posts isn't really anything to brag about - but since I'll be going to Europe this week and posts will be light during the next two weeks I thought it would be a good time to look back at some of the stories of the last couple of months. Think of it as a "best of", if you will.

AT&T & Co. rally consumers against net neutrality - I just got a phone call by a nice lady that tried to persuade me that net neutrality is bad. Because there is an internet price increase coming really really soon, and Google wants me to pay for it.

AllofMP3: IFPI's favoured enemy
- Of course every mention of Allofmp3.com in the press is driving more customers to the site. So why would the music industry help Allofmp3 with their advertising? Because the Russian website will have to shut down this fall, and IFPI is just waiting to claim this as their victory. Update: Obviously it didn't shut down just yet. More about that later.

German P2P users don't care about lawsuits - A few weeks ago German law enforcement officials launched a massive strike against Edonkey / Emule users. 130 residencies were raided, and a total of 3500 users are under investigation. The average German P2P user couldn't care less, apparently.

Peerthings: Siemens tries to compete with Skype - Siemens demonstrated a SIP-based Skype alternative called "Peerthings" at the last CeBIT.

Redswoosh review - Redswoosh is a P2P service that allows webmasters to distribute files with the help of their users.

P2P Currency Exchange
- First there was MP3 swapping. Then people started to trade CDs and DVDs. What's next? How about exchanging some of that spare money from your last vacation?

Former Limewire programmer starts new P2P venture - first product combines SIP with file sharing and social networking
- Adam Fisk used to be a senior software engineer at Limewire until Jaunuary 2004. Now he has started blogging - and in turn dropping hints on what he's up to now.

Swedish Pirate Party launches VPN service, calls it "World's First Commercial Darknet" - 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.

Allpeers review
- Allpeers is a Firefox plugin that enables private sharing with groups and individuals.

Allofmp3 vows to continue despite tougher copyright laws - A few weeks ago I proclaimed that Allofmp3.com would give up it's current business model by September 1st. Turns out I was wrong - for now, at least. But things are changing in Russia, at least when it comes to the letter of the law. Russia toughened it's copyright law back in 2004, but a few key amendments were delayed to take effect today.