Faced with the almost impossible task of physically restricting people’s activities online, during recent years authorities and copyright holders have sought to have legislation tightened up, to encourage citizens towards a path of “doing the right thing” through the fear of more and more serious consequences.
In Sweden, the results of intense lobbying are clear. Due to a combination of fat Internet pipes and its status as the spiritual home of The Pirate Bay, Sweden and file-sharing go hand in hand. As a result the country is being subjected to considerable online surveillance.
But according to new research from the Cybernorms research group at Sweden’s Lund University, an increasing proportion of the country’s population are taking measures to negate the effects of spying on their online activities.
A similar study carried out in 2009 revealed that 500,000 Swedes were taking steps to anonymize their connections. Today’s results therefore reveal a 40% increase in privacy service uptake in roughly 2.5 years.
Of particular interest is the response to surveillance by the younger generation. According to Cybernorms, 200,000 individuals aged between 15 to 25-years-old are now hiding themselves online. This figure represents 15% of the total group, up from 10% in 2009.
“If the [recent] European Court of Justice opinion leads to an intensified hunt for file sharers, there is evidence that the use of these types of services for anonymity will grow even faster,” says Svensson.
While the researchers at Lund estimate that file-sharing is one of the key drivers behind the update of anonymity services, according to the foundation administering Sweden’s top-level .SE domain, monitoring of other kinds is also playing its part.