Around 1,000 UK sports fans involved in illegal streaming could be visited by authorities in the next few weeks for a major crackdown on piracy.
Within the so-called Operation RaiderWest Mercia Police seized the database of an illegal streaming platform, which allowed officers to trace the names of subscribers using the illegal service.
The UK-based illegal streaming platform was responsible for delivering entertainment and sports content via modded boxes, Firesticks and subscriptions.
Anti-piracy organization FACT (opens in a new tab) teamed up with UK police not only to remind users that illegal streaming is a crime, but also to warn them about the online risks associated with it, such as malware and other cyberattacks.
All of this shows how the fight against piracy has changed recently, with ISPs, DNS services, and even the best VPN providers increasingly being taken to court for copyright infringement.
We are pleased to partner with @factuk, @ROCUWM and the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) to raise awareness of the dangers of illegal streaming. 📺💻Learn more 👇 https://t.co/JgOZi79rUTJanuary 10, 2023
Piracy – not just a legal issue
When it comes to illegal streaming, it’s easy to overlook possible criminal charges. This is especially true for those users who just want to watch a movie or a football game for free on their device.
However, as FACT pointed out, it is important for people to understand that there is a specific risk of criminal prosecution.
“In 2021, two people, Paul Faulkner and Stephen Millington, were sentenced to a total of 16 months in prison for watching unauthorized broadcasts,” the company noted in post on a blog (opens in a new tab).
Even worse, legal fees are just one side of the coin with illegal streaming.
“Accessing movies, TV series and live sporting events from unauthorized sources is illegal, can expose consumers to risks such as data theft and malware, and can help fund organized crime groups,” explained Gary Robinson, Chief Complaints Officer at the UK. Unit (PIPCU).
A recent investigation into 50 illegal streaming sites found that all of the platforms analyzed were displaying malicious content, FACT reported.
From viruses and adware to spyware and Trojan horses, this malware can infect users’ devices without even having to click on dangerous content. Access to these types of platforms is enough to expose yourself to an attack.
Users have confirmed these predictions, with around half of UK illegal streamers reporting that they have been or know someone who has been the victim of identity theft, phishing scams, financial fraud or data loss due to piracy activities.
“By working in partnership, sharing intelligence legally and effectively, the network aims to ensure that government and law enforcement agencies help reduce the risk, threat and harm caused by serious and organized crime,” said Jason Grove, National Coordinator at the Government Agency Intelligence Network (profit).
When asked about the repercussions for the UK streamers involved, Fact said TorrentFreak (opens in a new tab) that no legal harassment is planned at this stage.