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Piracy Privacy The Almighty Buck United Kingdom Your Rights Online

UK ISPs Profit From Coughing Up Customer Data 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-call-it-monetization-of-assets dept.
nk497 writes "ISPs in the UK are charging as much as £120 to hand customer data over to rightsholders looking for proof of piracy, according to the Federation Against Software Theft. While ISPs have to hand over log details for free in criminal cases, they are free to charge in civil cases — and can set the price. 'In 2006, we ran Operation Tracker in which we identified about 130 users who were sharing copies of a security program over the web,' said John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST. 'In the end we got about 100 names out of them, but that cost us £12,000, and that was on top of the investigative costs and the legal fees.'"
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UK ISPs Profit From Coughing Up Customer Data

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  • GBP 85 / hr (Score:4, Insightful)

    by afaik_ianal (918433) * on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:27AM (#33719710)

    GBP 85 / hr doesn't seem outlandishly expensive to me if you consider it a professional IT service. What would surprise me, is if there were ISPs valuing their time at less than GBP 50. What would concern me, is if ISPs were spending 10 minutes on these requests and just giving out data willie nillie.

  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:31AM (#33719728)

    As long as those ISPs follow the law regarding the disclosure of this personal data, I have nothing against it. Actually I would be all for it: let those rights holders pay up! After all they are losing so many billions in sales lost to piracy, that paying a few quid to get those evil pirates' names (and the rest of the population to go back to buying all those songs they are now sharing top-dollar on CD) should be no problem for them. And after all as we know it the record companies are always right in their accusations, suing only actual evil pirates, right?

    Of course ISPs should only disclose personal data when the law requires them to do so. Potential profiting from non-compliance poses a danger of course. Oh well as long as the penalty for improper disclosure is high enough (preferably including throwing out court cases against alleged pirates) then they will.

  • by arbiter1 (1204146) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:54AM (#33719830)
    follow the? when it comes to making money companies will bend any law they can so wouldn't surprise me if they were bending that law a bit
  • by arivanov (12034) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @02:23AM (#33719954) Homepage

    The law in question is the data protection act.

    Frankly, I do not quite see how does the data protection act authorise you to give the data in question. With fee or without. If the customer has not signed consent to have their data transferred to a third party (this is usually an opt-out option at sign-up) the ISP is not allowed to do so without a court order or without asking the customer's consent. This means that any evidence obtained this way is likely to be tainted.

    UK rules on tainted evidence are not as strong as USA, but even in the UK bringing in the court room evidence that is obtained in violation of the law generally ends up with the case being thrown out.

  • Boohoohoowawa (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xtracto (837672) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @03:38AM (#33720262) Journal

    'In 2006, we ran Operation Tracker in which we identified about 130 users who were sharing copies of a security program over the web,' said John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST. 'In the end we got about 100 names out of them, but that cost us £12,000, and that was on top of the investigative costs and the legal fees.'"

    Cry ME a fucking river crybaby. Boohoo... we want to screw people, and want to make ISPs screw their customers with laws that we have made by buying legislators... and ISPs are charging us to screw their customers... the nerve of them I say! how can they!

  • Re:GBP 85 / hr (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Peeteriz (821290) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @04:32AM (#33720466)

    In processing such requests, IT service is not the primary expense - the request validity and rights to publish data have to be vetted by lawyers, and 85/h sounds quite reasonable.

  • by rcb1974 (654474) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {enytnallabdrahcir}> on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @08:00AM (#33721096) Homepage

    This is bad because ISPs now have an incentive reveal your identity to the mega corporations who will sue you. If all ISPs in the UK are required to do this, then ISP won't need to worry about losing customers by revealing their customer names. Here's how it will work:

    1) MPAA pays ISP $120 to get your name from your IP address. I don't know why people still think that the ISP account holder is necessarily the person who is sharing copyrighted material.
    2) ISP profits!
    3) MPAA sues you for $150000, but settles for $3000.
    4) MPAA profits! ($3000 - $120 - $0.5 (stamp)) = $2879.50

    YOU LOSE $3000, lot of sleep, and get stressed because you feel so powerless to stop those parasites.

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