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Pirate Party ISP sets sail in Sweden

The world's first pirate-run Internet service provider has been launched in Sweden.

The Swedish Pirate Party, which made the headlines in May after it stepped in to host file-sharing search engine The Pirate Bay, has now become co-owner of new broadband provider Pirate ISP, which promises subscribers privacy.

Piratepartiet made itself unpopular with record industry bosses when it rescued The Pirate Bay after its previous ISP's owner was threatened with jail. The party has used parliamentary legal immunity to run the site from inside the Swedish Parliament, right under fellow lawmakers' noses.

Explaining the party's launch of the Pirate ISP, the new service provider's CEO, Gustav Nipe, told news site TorrentFreak: "If you see something and you think it's broken you build a patch and fix it. With that as a reference point we are launching an ISP. This is one way to tackle the big brother society."

"The Pirate ISP is needed in different ways," Nipe went on. "One is to compete with other ISPs, let them fight more for our Internet. If they don't behave there will always be someone else taking their share."

Pirate ISP plans to safeguard subscribers' anonymity using technology from ViaEuropa, creator of the iPredator anonymity service.

Already, the Pirate ISP looks set on a collision course with Swedish authorities, declaring that it will refuse to maintain logs of its users.

The broadband service began yesterday with beta testing by around 100 members of housing association LKF in the city of Lund, and plans to begin rolling out across Sweden by the end of the summer.