Hosting company PRQ raided by the Swedish police

What is known is that four servers were confiscated. Early rumors that The Pirate Bay was the target were misplaced – TPB is no longer hosted by PRQ, and a co-incidental simultaneous outage was caused by unconnected power problems. Other rumors have associated the raid with WikiLeaks and especially the Swedish demand for the extradition of founder Julian Assange. The relationship between Wikileaks and PRQ is, however, a little confused. ZDnet describes PRQ as the “previous home of Wikileaks”, while WikiLeaks itself tweeted on Monday, “PRQ.se, one of a number of ISPs used by WikiLeaks has been raided by Swedish police; 4 servers seized. Police still in office.” Either way, Wikileaks is still online at the time of writing.

The simple fact, however, is that PRQ could have been raided for any number of reasons. Founded by two of the three founders of TBP, it has retained a policy of privacy and free speech and consequently hosts a number of file-sharing and other dubious sites. “And it’s not yet clear exactly whose servers the police seized,” reports Forbes. “PRQ’s two thousand or so customers have at times included WikiLeaks, the North America Man-Boy Love Association, Pedophile.se, the Chechen rebel site Kavkaz Central, and the defamation-accused Italian blog known as Perugia Shock, among others.”

PRQ’s policy is to ask no questions and do no takedowns. Forbes quotes the company’s owner Mikael Viborg as having once commented, “Even though I loathe what they say, I defend them [some of the more controversial sites such as Pedophile.se and NAMBLA]. We don’t cooperate with the authorities unless we absolutely have to.” Which of these controversial sites is or are the actual police targets remains unclear. TorrentFreak has reported, “All sites hosted on the 80.88./19 net are currently unavailable, including but not limited to the torrent sites torrenthound.com, linkomanija.net and tankafetast.nu, release blog RLSLOG.net, and the sports streaming sites atdhenet.tv, hahasport.com, sportlemon.tv and stopstream.tv.” Some of these sites have now returned.

Even Anonymous seems confused. Immediately after the raid it released a retaliatory “Expect us” warning – but there is as yet little evidence of increased hacktivist activity. Like everybody else, it might be waiting to find out exactly what is going on. Mikael Viborg expects to learn more from the police later today.

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