With the birth of the internet, our lives have become more comfortable. Many of us rely on it on our day to day living as well as with work. That is why it is tough to imagine living without the internet today.
The Internet has a lot to offer to us and its power is limitless. However, despite the endless benefits that it can provide us, many organizations are trying to put restrictions and limits on the use of it.
Some organizations are banning the download of specific files and documents. Others are limiting their access on other websites.
This should not be the case. Internet should be free for all without restrictions and limits. That is why one company in Sweden are campaigning for an open internet.
An open internet is a concept where there is no restrictions or limitations in the use of the internet or access to some websites and other files on the web.
Bahnhof, an internet service provider (ISP) in Sweden, is campaigning for an open internet in their country. Bahnhof wanted everyone to use the internet freely without any blocks or limits and copyright enforcement.
They are a staunch supporter of an open internet and they will continue to fight for it. This is according to its Chief Executive Officer Jon Karlung on its interview with the website company TorrentFreak.
With the internet making the lives of the people better and easier, limiting its use is unnecessary. Especially now that the use of the internet continues to grow every single day. Billions of people heavily rely on the internet to fulfill their work and their day to day activities. The internet also paved the way for some research developments, discoveries, and many more. It has also advanced the level and kind of education that we have today.
Just like any other ISPs, Bahnhof is one of the many ISPs who has experienced some problems in the tech world. One of the issues that lead them to campaign for open internet is that freedom of the internet is being restricted and copyright is being enforced.
One example of this is when Bahnhof was shut down because of a file-sharing issue during the anti-privacy raid in Sweden in 2005.
It was very unfair for the company as they found out that the infamous Antipiratbyran, an anti-piracy group, had indirectly planted infringing copyright content on some of their servers.
Bahnhof CEO Jon Karlung is baffled with what happened and asked, how can an anti-piracy group pay a person to upload thousands of copyrighted files on their servers for the authorities to have evidence and shut their operations down?
For Jon Karlung it was a disturbing action that needs to be taken seriously.
Because of what happened to the company, they became a staunch supporter of free internet. They oppose file-sharing crackdown activities and supported piracy. Moreover, as an ISP company, they refuse to log and store their clients IP addresses so that authorities won’t be able to locate them.
Not long after, they started supporting and are proud to host the infamous Wikileaks. Wikileaks is a non-profit organization that exposes secret information and classified data from anonymous sources. It was able to acquire 10 million documents, ten years after it was launched. Some of the secrets exposed on this website are information about the war in Afghanistan in connection with the 9/11 attack.
Despite their support with Wikileaks, they are still protecting their clients’ privacy by not logging and keeping their IP addresses.
However, not logging or keeping their customer’s IP addresses are against the European Court of Justice directive. The Directive requires all ISP companies to store data and activities of their subscribers. This includes their customers’ communication activities like whom they contacted, what time, and the IP addresses that were involved. However, Bahnhof stopped capturing data of their subscribers and customers.
Not long after, PTS, Sweden’s telecom regulator, has ordered Bahnhof to start keeping communication logs and data of its subscribers. This is under the local data retention law of Sweden. If they fail to do what is ordered, they will be charged for non-compliance and need to pay hefty fines.
PTS thought that Bahnhof would comply with the local data retention law. However, to their surprise, Bahnhof offered a free no logging virtual private network (VPN) to its customers. With this, customers have the choice if they will like to disclose their activities if they logged in. On the other hand, they can still use the VPN even though they did not log in.
With this, Bahnhof has been known to be a staunch supporter of online privacy by protecting the privacy of their subscribers. They are also very active in fighting copyright trolls. They call them greedy extortionists. CEO Jon Karlung says that it will continue to be the longest standing ISP that will keep fighting for online privacy and open internet.
Their fight for open internet can be trace down way before they launch the company and will continue until the internet reaches its maximum potential. This is what he said to his interview with TorrentFreak.
The internet, as it continues to evolve since it was born, has also given way to the birth of dark forces that continues to limit its potential. Jon Karlung sees Bahnhof as a company that would fight these dark forces so that everyone can enjoy the use of the internet without restrictions.
He even asked, what if the internet is just a big cable TV that is controlled by Big Media?
Alternatively, what if there are various commercial interest that is connected to it? Will people still enjoy the benefits of using the internet if they know they are being spied on or their activities are being used for personal gains of other people?
Jon Karlung understands that using his company to campaign for open internet has sound effects. His company can be seen as a unique company in the industry. Also, they will be able to get sympathies from current and future customers.
There is a massive benefit in protecting your customers’ privacy.
Unfortunately, because of Bahnhof’s support for an open internet, they are now under investigation in Sweden. They are subject to a net-neutrality investigation of the country. Instead of being afraid, Jon Karlung is looking forward to the discussion with Sweden’s telecom regulators.