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Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde has a new privacy-oriented startup. Today he launches the domain registration service Njalla, which offers site owners full anonymity, shielding them from the prying eyes of outsiders. "Think of us as your friendly drunk (but responsibly so) straw person that takes the blame for your expressions."
In recent years, copyright holders have taken aim at the domain name industry, calling on players to take a more active approach against piracy.
One of the often heard complaints is that website owners use Whois masking services to ensure their privacy.
There are several companies dedicated to offering privacy to domain registrants and today, rightsholders will see a well-known adversary entering the market.
Former Pirate Bay spokesperson and co-founder Peter Sunde has just announced his latest venture. Keeping up his fight for privacy on the Internet, he’s launching a new company called Njalla, that helps site operators to shield their identities from prying eyes.
The name Njalla refers to the traditional hut that Sámi people use to keep predators at bay. It’s built on a tall stump of a tree or pole and is used to store food or other goods.
On the Internet, Njalla helps to keep people’s domain names private. While anonymizer services aren’t anything new, Sunde’s company takes a different approach compared to most of the competition.
With Njalla, customers don’t buy the domain names themselves, they let the company do it for them. This adds an extra layer of protection but also requires some trust.
A separate agreement grants the customer full usage rights to the domain. This also means that people are free to transfer it elsewhere if they want to.
“Think of us as your friendly drunk (but responsibly so) straw person that takes the blame for your expressions,” Njalla notes.
TorrentFreak spoke to Peter Sunde who says that the service is needed to ensure that people can register domain names without having to worry about being exposed.
“Njalla is needed because we’re going the wrong way in society regarding people’s right to be anonymous. With social media pressuring us to be less anonymous and services being centralized, we need alternatives,” Sunde says.
The current domain privacy services aren’t really providing anonymity, Sunde believes, that’s why he decided to fill this gap.
“All key parts of the Internet need to have options for anonymity, and the domain name area is something which was never really protected. At best you can buy a domain name using ‘privacy by proxy’ services, which are aimed more at limiting spam than actually protecting your privacy.”
As co-founder of The Pirate Bay, Njalla might also get some pirate sites as customers. Since Njalla owns the domain names, this could lead to some pressure from rightsholders, but Sunde isn’t really worried about this.
“The domain name itself is not really what they’re after. They’re after the content that the domain name points to. So we’re never helping with anything that might infringe on anything anyhow, so it’s a non-question for us,” Sunde says.
For those who are interested, Njalla just opened its website for business. The company is registered with the fitting name 1337 LLC and is based in Nevis, a small island in the Caribbean Sea.