Young file sharers in Sweden are increasingly making use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to make their online activity anonymous. In a recent survey, it was discovered that almost three quarter of a million Swedes now use VPNs, representing a 40 per cent rise in 15-25 year old usage in the past three years alone.
This was discovered thanks to a survey by the Cybernorms research group at the Lund University in Sweden. Head of the study Måns Svensson said that this was a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. "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."
With an increase in file sharing legislation, charges and punishments, it makes sense that Internet users will take more measures to hide their online activity. However, others believe it goes beyond file sharing.
"Where monitoring is increasing, both from government and from private players like Facebook and Google, so does demand," said President of the .SE domain foundation, Danny Aerts.
While often associated with illegal activity, Tor software is also seeing increased usage and popularity among web users as online anonymity becomes scarcer.
If the recent block order of The Pirate Bay is anything to go by though, it doesn't seem likely that the authorities and copyright lobbyists have any plans of slowing their assault on web freedom. This is not going to stem the tide of those taking up Tor and VPN usage.
Source: Torrent Freak