WIRE TELEGRAM – The investigation following a raid involving The Pirate Bay more than a year ago has been scaled back. The prosecutor handling the case says the investigation into one of the key suspects has now been dropped after police found they had no time to analyze the data seized during the raid. Other cases have higher priority, police suggest.
On December 9, 2014, the file-sharing world received a bombshell.
“There has been a crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm. This is in connection with violations of copyright law,” said Paul Pintér, police national coordinator for IP enforcement in Sweden.
More than ten police officers had entered a data center embedded into the side of a mountain in Nacka, just outside the capital. And with The Pirate Bay, EZTV and several other torrent related sites offline, it became clear this was no ordinary raid.
Days later it was revealed that police had held a still-unnamed key suspect in custody for a week.
“The suspicions relate to a violation of copyright law. Everything is being analyzed now and new hearings may possibly be held,” prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad said.
A major criminal investigation was clearly underway but months passed, seemingly without progress. In the meantime The Pirate Bay came back online, business as usual, leaving the authorities to try and pick up the pieces and join the dots.
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But now, more than 13 months later, it appears that far from making significant progress, things are moving in the other direction.
In comments made to local media, Fredrik Ingblad says that the investigation into one of the key suspects in the case is now effectively over.
“Parts of the investigation are closed. And that’s because the police do not have the resources to analyze the seized hardware,” Ingblad says.
At least in part it appears that determination to leave no stone unturned contributed to the position police now find themselves in. During the raid police seized around 50 servers, some live, some from the datacenter’s storage rooms.
Also seized were computers and various servers owned by the former suspect but according to the prosecutor the task of analyzing the evidence they contain never properly got off the ground. Whether that’s due to sheer volume or possible encryption isn’t clear, but in any event it appears that very little has been done.
“These kinds of investigations take time, but in this particular case [the police] have barely begun to analyze the hardware and I have not received a plan when the police can start working again,” Ingblad says.
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According to IDG, when questioned by Ingblad on their apparent lack of progress, police pointed to a lack of IT resources available to investigate the case. That, combined with a general lack of evidence to indicate that the suspect had committed any crime, means that the case against him was stood down.
Ingblad wouldn’t be drawn on questions of whether it’s common for cases to be dropped due to a lack of resources but conceded this was a first time for him. Describing his decision to drop the case against the suspect as unfortunate, Ingblad says the investigation into other suspects continues.
Precisely how many people remain on the police radar is unclear but it’s likely that Pirate Bay founder Fredrik Neij remains a suspect.