More prosecutions loom for file-sharers

  Forum Editor 01:31 31 Jan 2006

A High Court judge has ordered ten UK ISPs to hand over the details of 150 UK customers accused of illegally sharing software.

This is the culmination of a 12-month undercover investigation by the Federation Against Software Theft (Fast). BT, NTL, Telewest and Tiscali are all among the ISPs who will be providing the names, addresses and other personal details of the alleged file-sharers. They'll hand over the information within the next two weeks, and FAST will hand it over to the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

  ade.h 14:22 31 Jan 2006

Hmm, this seems to bring us close to our recent discussion about data retention at ISPs and the passing of it to certain Government bodies.

While that side of the issue irks the liberal side of my nature somewhat, in this case, it is at least just targetting certain people's files which contains already stored information. Whether that data should already be routinely stored by ISPs is a whole other argument of course!

Ultimately, it matters most that the data is put to good use in prosecuting filesharers, provided the behind-the-scenes work is handled correctly and carefully.

  Forum Editor 14:44 31 Jan 2006

has been talked about for a long time, and we've certainly discussed it here more than once. Here we have a case of a High Court judge ordering ISPs to disclose the data that they are already routinely recording, which is a new departure as far as I'm aware. The ISPs must comply with such an order, or face being in contempt, and I'm sure that they'll all comply.

It does raise some interesting issues however, because we're seeing a judge exercise his powers to order disclosure without the benefit of the EU directive behind him. He knew that ISPs would have the information that is needed in order for prosecutions to be brought against individual file-sharers. One of the issues that this raises is the fact that the person named by the ISP will be the person responsible for paying the ISP charges - and that may not necessarily be the person who actually did the file-sharing. Children are implicated as often as not, but it will be the account-payer who gets prosecuted.

  ade.h 14:59 31 Jan 2006

Indeed; that is fraught with problems. The culprit may not even be in the household; what of the war-driver who takes advantage of an open home network? Yet another thing to encourage that particular tactic isn't it?

  dmc727 19:39 31 Jan 2006

“it will be the account-payer who gets prosecuted.”

There must be a number of scenarios where the account holder innocently doesn’t go any where near the PC - an absent father who sets up the account and pays the bills for example.

Always though, in cases like these, there needed to be some evidence of alleged “guilty mind” to get a conviction.

Suspect there is a little more to it. Time will tell!!

  ayrmail 11:31 01 Feb 2006

From your post I can see what they do, why war-driver.

I take it these will be large volume file sharers, though not sure what that would be, worked with a chap a year or so ago that filled a 160gb ex hd in about 4/5 months. I haven't been to the pictures in years and have only seen a handful of films in the last year, I cannot imagin where he would get the time to watch what he is downloading.
As mentioned in a previous post FE I happy for ISP's to hand over my or anyone elses surfing habits to the Police to investigate crime, I guess it depends apoun the crime how much time and efort should be spent.

  ade.h 14:30 01 Feb 2006

In some neighbourhoods, you may spot the occasional white cross or similar mark chalked onto the front of a house; this is done by a wardriver to alert others to the presence of an available network! So if you have an un-secured network, and a mysterious mark appears on your wall one morning, you know why.

  amonra 16:39 01 Feb 2006

If as the FE suggests, all the ISPs (such as BT NTL Tiscali and all the rest) hand over their data files on sharers to the police and the CPS, what on earth are they going to do with all the thousands of "illegal users" files ? The police cant cope at present with a straightforward theft case, or a high-street mugging. Where are all the extra staff going to come from ? I think this is a lot of hype and spin to frighten off the youngsters who swop their latest songs. The bulk of illegal MASS downloads are by con-artists who have already moved on to another ISP or changed their name to XYZ etc. A few newspaper headlines quoting fines of ££££s will scare the tiddlers, not the big boys.

  Teaboy 17:00 01 Feb 2006

amonra- Good argument. No massive file downloader is likely to use his own identity,( I take it that these people are the ones being targeted), and not the kiddies swapping the odd song.

  SG Atlantis® 17:18 01 Feb 2006

so where do you set the limit?

Theft is theft no matter what.

I remember people saying that detector vans for tv license where just a scare tactic.... many of them have been fined! If you're file sharing illegally I wouldn't take this news lightly that your ISP will tout on you by handing over your data!!!!!

  Forum Editor 17:41 01 Feb 2006

may not use their own identity, but someone pays for their broadband access, and that person is the one who will be prosecuted.

People who seek to deliberately and repeatedly break the law will eventually be found out, and anyone who thinks otherwise is very stupid indeed - as recent events have demonstrated.

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