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Henrik Pontén's Miscarriages of Justice
Life can be rough when you're a hired orc.
The name Henrik Pontén doesn't exactly invoke warm fuzzy feelings in debates about file sharing, no matter what side of the fence you're standing on. Pontén's underhanded tactics scare people and remind them mostly of the kind of police work seen in US television dramas about corruption. Pontén gets paid to stick it to file sharers and he seems confident his patrons don't look too closely at the quality of his work. He's gone so far as to be found guilty of entrapment - but a type perhaps heretofore unseen.
Or how about planting a spy inside an ISP and then giving a hacker a boatload of game and movie DVDs, having the hacker open ghost accounts with the provider, having the hacker send computer hardware for several thousand dollars to the provider for 'colo' services, then having the hacker upload all the movies to the new accounts - just so Pontén can call the police and get them to bust the provider so he can show his sugar daddies what a great job he's doing?
It's called entrapment alright but it's far far worse. We're dealing here with a person of absolutely no morals whatsoever. What you see on your telly in those dramas about police corruption doesn't hold a candle to Henrik Pontén. He should be ashamed of himself but that's never going to happen.
Tuesday 8 March 2005. Pontén's request for a bust of the provider Bahnhof with subsidiaries One Stadsnät and Globecom Network arrives at department 7 of the Stockholm court. The request is handled by a Tomas Norström - the same Tomas Norström who will preside over the trial of TPB. Plaintiffs are listed as STIM, Universal, EMI, Sony - and of course Pontén's Antipiracy Bureau.
The request is based on suspicion of illegal availability of a great number of movies, games, and music on the Banhnof servers. Three servers are specifically targeted: Arctic Connection, Enigma, and Infinite Power.
How did anyone know this? Easy. Pontén's been watching these servers 'for a long time' through an anonymous spy he's had within the Bahnhof organisation. This anonymous person claims to have seen 'thousands of movies' Pontén and his people hold the rights to.
Yet two full years later they still couldn't produce any evidence.
The court request names eight music albums and four movies. The request also points out time is of the essence. The bust must take place without Bahnhof being questioned and having time to remove evidence. Pontén wants a decision at the latest by the following day. And he's already contacted other authorities who are ready to help, including technicians from Softronic.
Wednesday 9 March 2005. At 09:05 17 technicians arrive at Norra Stationsgatan 61 in Stockholm - Bahnhof's premises. A representative for Bahnhof is informed by telephone. The bust begins immediately. Staff are ordered to immediately stop using their own computers. All computer keyboards are turned upside down.
At 10:00 Bahnhof's CEO Jon Karlung arrives together with the corporation's legal adviser.
The technicians go up to server hall 11 in search of Arctic Connection, Enigma, and Infinite Power. They can't find them but they do find four other servers they can't identify and decide to take those instead - despite the fact the court limited their search to the aforementioned three servers.
Jon Karlung insists he does not know who owns these four servers, claims he doesn't have the passwords to log in to them, and explains that they're an isolated system not connected with the rest of the servers.
According to Karlung the technicians start rummaging around on the servers and suddenly start cheering that they've found something.
At 14:30 a police car with two policemen arrives as a result of Henrik Pontén now filing a police complaint. Pontén meets the policemen in the lobby together with a federal police inspector. The inspector tells the police about the bust and then returns to the server hall.
At 15:20 the policemen enter the server hall together with Jon Karlung and interrupt the technicians inspecting the four servers. The servers are unscrewed by staff from Softronic and taken to police headquarters.
At 16:30 the bust is concluded as the police by virtue of their confiscation of the servers have interrupted the investigation.
Thursday 17 March 2005. The report on the bust is submitted. The federal inspector admits the servers targeted by the court order could not be identified, the police haven't been able to find the cited copyrighted materials, and they've not been able to find data on net traffic indicating any illegal downloads.
Jon Karlung now begins his own investigation of what happened and why and comes to some startling conclusions. He then makes all the evidence - log files et al - public. 'We haven't added or removed anything to make Bahnhof look good', he says.
Rouge Salaried by Pontén
Karlung's investigation shows that for more than two years there was an informer planted inside the Bahnhof organisation salaried by Pontén to chart the contents of a specific file server, Karlung writes in a press communiqué.
This server was run by a network technician who'd previously been employed by a smaller ISP and one year earlier been hired on by Bahnhof. The technician moved the server into Bahnhof's premises so he could take advantage of the greater bandwidth.
The informer is called 'Rouge' in the Bahnhof report; the network technician is called 'Person 1'. 'Rouge' is later identified as one Peter Bergström who went on to have significant contact with the FBI in the preparations for the bust of TPB.
All the Games and Movies of 2004
'In other words Pontén has known about this server the whole time - but he chose to do nothing about it. Instead he hired Rouge to fill the server with copyrighted materials he (Pontén) supplied to Rouge. This can be seen in the log files we are now making public.'
The Bahnhof investigation found 68,111 unique file upload operations carried out by Rouge on behalf of Henrik Pontén. The great majority of all movies and games released in Sweden in 2004 were uploaded to the servers.
'This has been done by a person salaried by Henrik Pontén and the Antipiracy Bureau in an attempt to accuse others of illegal pirate activities', Karlung wrote.
Henrik Pontén has continually refused to comment on the affair - to the collected Swedish IT media sources and even IT media giant IDG.
And So It Happens Again
Karlung filed a complaint against Pontén. The Swedish media came out against Pontén. But nothing happened. Such is the power of Hollywood money - even in the Swedish judicial system.
A year later it starts all over again: Håkan Roswall who earlier went on the record to say TPB could not be accused of illegal activity finds himself under considerable pressure to make a case where there's none. Not a person to ever give much thought to ethics, Roswall, increasingly aware his own career is on the line, decides to take every computer he finds at PRQ - and not only the ones his warrant entitles him to.
Owners of these other computers protest - but the protests end up on the desk of Håkan Roswall who in the effective capacity of a virtual dictator just ignores them. Several years down the line these people still haven't had their equipment returned.
They too filed police complaints - but in this case the complaints ended up on the desk of one Jim Keyser who summarily dismissed them.
Jim 'Söze' Keyser was slated to be Roswall's star witness until it was discovered he'd been on the payroll of Warner Bros - at which time he just 'sort of disappeared' if you believe Roswall. When questioned by the court about this Roswall would only say he had no idea where Keyser was, that he'd sent him an 'email' but got no reply.
A shrug of the shoulders for the disappearance of a star witness. That's what they want people to believe.
Keyser worked from Warner for only for a few weeks but still and all Warner paid him $100,000 for his 'services'.
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2005 9:29
To: Tilbury, Chad; Seymour, Dan; Winter, Craig
Subject: Swedish pirates busted!
After 2 years of infiltrations our work finally paid of [sic] today with a successful raid on Sweden's oldest and largest ISP named Bahnhof.
Bahnhof has been a source for top level piracy for several years and hosting some of the biggest and fastest servers in Europe.
From: Mac Greevy, Dara
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2005 10:08 AM
To: Sunderland, Jane
Cc: Malcolm, John; Garfield, Dean; Tilbury, Chad
Subject: RE: EREC-05-007: Sweden: Authorities seize major pirate servers at Stockholm ISP
'The Swede' was central to this operation. He even shared coffee at one stage with the operators of the servers at the ISP's premises (ironically located in the same building as the Swedish program)!
From: Garfield, Dean
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2005 12:02 PM
To: Ponten, Henrik
Cc: Tilbury, Chad
Subject: FW: EREC-05-007: Sweden: Authorities seize major pirate servers at Stockholm ISP
Henrik, this is truly phenomenal. We are all very proud of you. I am sure you are a bit unpopular with the pirate community in Sweden right now. Great work.
But of course there was nothing on those servers before Pontén got 'Rouge' Bergström to upload it.
Welcome to Swedish China.
Postscript: Pontén's New Biggest Bust
Henrik Pontén's recently revealed that right in the midst of the trial of TPB he helped carry out yet another bust - this time in the Stockholm suburb of Brandbergen. A single server was seized. And according to Pontén this server had 16,000 [sic] movies on it.
Pontén's further claimed this server is the source of all illegal torrents at The Pirate Bay - a claim that startles even Peter Sunde.
And it's probably going to startle legal experts too. Don't worry for the moment how big a HDD one needs for a single server to store 16,000 movies. Or Pontén's claim that by yanking this single server a far reaching Scandinavian network of 10 servers storing a walloping 65 TB of data went down. Or why the remaining 49 TB of movies weren't found at The Pirate Bay.
Henrik Pontén - just as his colleague Peter Danowsky who signed the court request to bust Bahnhof four years ago - repeatedly cited the impossibility to identify the true culprits in the TPB file sharing - and so therefore beseeched the court to allow them to accuse someone else instead.
But now they have the culprits - the real culprits according to their own testimony.
So what are they still going after TPB for? And if the case against TPB isn't now summarily thrown out of court - are Pontén and his colleagues going to pick up double damages from both TPB and this new file sharing ring?
John Kennedy and the IFPI certainly won't object.
The Swedish democracy is dead. The system is obviously so attractive for manipulation that the only reason something like this can happen is that democracy has been deliberately weakened. They say the Swedish society is an open society. But how are things really? The police and the prosecutor refuse to say what the raid on TBP was about or whether they've cleaned out entire rooms of servers. Servers are very expensive computers; a room full of servers can cost several million. And to seize something not covered in the warrant is downright detestable - but that's precisely what happened yesterday. Hordes of servers were yanked out of their racks even though they had nothing more in common with TPB than sharing the same room. Istheshit.net had all its servers yanked. Anstalten.nu got theirs yanked. It's a long list and it's completely crazy how weakly defined everything is. What happens next? Am I an accessory to murder because I walked past the courthouse when the trial was taking place? Sweden has become China. We are not supposed to ask questions, we are not supposed to be opinionated, and if we don't keep in line our government will step in to silence us. This is a waste of resources and we're the ones who'll have to pay for it all. The Antipiracy Bureau will be talking with their corrupted politician friends to get this scandal swept under the carpet just like they did with the Bahnhof Affair. The system has become corrupt and we who sit at the children's table cannot express our opinions about this scandal. The politicians have removed all means we had for democratically speaking our minds and the Antipiracy Bureau can go back to their criminal activities without being sanctioned. The police will pay any eventual fines - which means taxpayers will foot the bill for something they don't want. Welcome to Swedish China where the opinions of vested interests weigh heavier than the laws and where politicians and police are sufficiently corrupt to help them rape their own citizens.
- Petter Senften
Copyriot: 'Rouge' at the Police Academy?
Radsoft Rants: Benito's IFPI Royalty System
IDG.se: The Pirate Bay: Police Seize Wrong Servers
Solid Block of Ise: Sista Spiken i Demokratins Kista II
Sydsvenskan: The Pirate Bay to be Documentary Movie
IDG.se: Bahnhof: Antipiracy Bureau File Sharing with Us
IDG.se: The Pirate Bay: Police Seize Wrong Servers Updated
Techdirt: Norwegian State Television to Launch Torrent Tracker
Radsoft FTP: Bahnhof Raid Court Order Signed by Tomas Norström
Radsoft FTP: Police Complaint Filed Against Pontén's Antipiracy Bureau
John Henrik Gustaf Pontén
Birthdate: 17 October 1965
Address: Ekholmsnäsvägen 114
Postal Area: 18164 Lidingö SE