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Are UK Police Hacking File-Sharers' Computers?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the cop-in-the-machine dept.

Security 177

superglaze writes "Following its takedown earlier this week of the music blog RnBXclusive, the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has claimed that "a number of site users have deleted their download histories" in response. Given that the site didn't host copyright-infringing files itself, how do they know? We've asked, but SOCA refuses to discuss its methods. A security expert has pointed out that, if they were hacking using Trojans, the police would themselves have been breaking the law. Added fun fact: SOCA readily admits that the scare message it showed visitors to the taken-down site was written 'with input from industry.'"

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Remember: The police are allowed to lie to you (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39071653)

Cool when you're watching nefarious plotting on Taggert or Law and Order: UK but not so funny when it's you. And the accusation is that you're depriving a Hollywood mogul .00000001 per cent of a payment on this third Mercedes.

Re:Remember: The police are allowed to lie to you (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39071727)

And the accusation is that you're depriving a Hollywood mogul .00000001 per cent of a payment on this third Mercedes.

Not really. In that regard it's like our own industry (golden parachutes and all).

A few friends are working in the visual effects industry and they have to endure crap that's so bad you'd think they're working for Zynga or Ubisoft.

Re:Remember: The police are allowed to lie to you (1)

Cosgrach (1737088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071993)

Right on brother!

When the cops hack your computer ... (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072123)

... it's legal, and you end up in jail

When you hack cops' computers, it's illegal, and you end up in jail

Head you lose, tail, you also lose

Re:When the cops hack your computer ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072569)

Until the cops are caught red handed hacking into a megacorp's network, then the shit hits the fan at light speeds.

Re:When the cops hack your computer ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39073257)

Head you lose, tail, you also lose

Heads you win, Tails I lose

huh? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39071655)

"a number of site users have deleted their download histories" What does that even mean? Cleared their IE Browsing History? Deleted their Chome cache? Removed things from FireFox's "Recent Downloads" folder?

Re:huh? (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071745)

It probably means that the JavaScript/CSS trick for determining what sites you've visited no longer shows that the IP number of believed downloaders have visited those sites. Which probably just means the government authorities in question don't know what "dynamic IP" means, but I digress....

Re:huh? (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072159)

Wasn't the CSS history trick disabled years ago?

Re:history (2, Informative)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072591)

I dunno,

Firefox has this creepy new dashboard on New Tabs that shows parts of your history, and it's semi-permanent-sorta even if you delete parts of your history in the settings. I didn't do any exhaustive research, just that I noticed a top level partial history delete didn't work. All I'm saying is that stuff like the new Google data-merge is gonna intersect eventually with the cops/govt spreading their fear campaigns.

FUD (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39073061)

Firefox has semi-permanent-sorta BUT NOT history items.
I didn't do ANY research, but I still decided to post some FUD to slashdot for the mod points.

Re:huh? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072595)

Depends what browser you use, and what version of that browser. IE6 is still around, remember.

Re:huh? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072723)

Within the last year, at least on FF and Chrome.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39073211)

It means they are watching people post "I've deleted my download history so you'll never catch me" on Facebook and Twitter.

Well... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39071663)

SOCA, How about a message from the people that pay you, "You are not above the law".

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072525)

I think we're supposed to read it as an Agency of Serious Organized Crime, instead of the other way around.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072603)

I'm still wondering what about file sharing or illegal downloads is Serious Organized Crime!
Oh, wait, they fund terrorism (TM), right? I got it, I got it.
So kids, remember: every time you look at a link for a possibly copyright infringing file, a terrorist straps a kitten to a puppy to an IED. You love kittens and puppies, don't you? Think about that before you listen to music. ANY music...

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072745)

Are you sure your part of the people that pay them?

First Rule of Media Manipulation (5, Insightful)

deweyhewson (1323623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071669)

Never let the facts get in the way of good propaganda.

SOCA on the case (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39071673)

Shit just got serious!

Re:SOCA on the case (4, Funny)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071849)

and organised!

right department for the job (5, Funny)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071713)

UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency

The Internet is Serious Business

Re:right department for the job (1)

rust627 (1072296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072277)

and its organised

Re:right department for the job (4, Funny)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072605)

Barely.

Re:right department for the job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072791)

Rarely.

Commit or prevent? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39071723)

These has been widespread suspicion that SOCA commits serious crimes. Whether it prevents them or captures the villains is also doubtful.

Re:Commit or prevent? (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39073839)

I am reminded of the anti-piratbyran (anti-pirate bureau) terrorizing Sweden, to which the response was for that nation's people to create piratbyran (pirate bureau).

If there is a "serious organized crime agency" terrorizing the UK, perhaps it is time for that nation's people to create an anti serious organized crime agency?

Browser exploits? (4, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071739)

Perhaps they were using browser exploits to determine if people had cleared their history or cache. Most (all?) of the major browsers used to allow Javascript to detect if links had been visited, so it could check known pages on the site to see if they had been accessed. Similarly the server can tell if files are in the browser's cache because it doesn't re-download them.

Combine that information with IP address logs and you know... well, nothing actually, but if the message they posted on the site is anything to go by they either don't understand that or are just lying deliberately. My guess is that this claim is the latter.

If you look at the site now the threats have been removed, like someone told them to stop breaking the law themselves. The result of IPCC complaints probably.

Re:Browser exploits? (3, Interesting)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071803)

My guess would be the former... They just don't understand the technology.

Don't get me wrong, they probably do have staff who do understand, it's just that those staff aren't the ones communicating with people outside SOCA. For that matter, I don't think those people even understand criminal investigation either. Look at that industry sponsored message they had on the domain seizure notice.

Re:Browser exploits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39073559)

Look at that industry sponsored message

It's not an industry. They merely pay people to hunt other people down and destroy their websites. They don't produce anything.

Re:Browser exploits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39071829)

The javascript trick would work, if it werent for their 'scare page' replacing the original content.

Re:Browser exploits? (5, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071891)

This JS history snooping sounds plausible, technically, but maybe not so practically. Besides the question of whether running such a script is legal: how did they manage to run those scrips?

To run such a history snooping script, a user has to visit a web site that runs said script. It's not likely the torrent site will do this for the authorities. It is also not likely that users will regularly visit anti-piracy web sites. They may visit it once, to get some information or out of curiousity, but well not much to repeat visits for.

Or is it done by the ISP? Who then would basically inject a js part into web pages the user downloads? Doesn't sound like a nice thing to do, to say the least.

Besides, such scripts afaik can only do something like "did you visit slashdot.org?": asking for specific URLs. I have not heard of a way to ask a browser "please tell me all sites this user has visited, and all urls which include slashdot.org". The first example shows whether or not the user visited the home page, the second example would give a list of all stories the user has opened, comments they opened, etc. You'd need the second method to be able to query a user's history for specific downloads.

Information from the browser cache determines whether to redownload a file, but the cache should be site-specific. Even if one site asks to download parts from another site, the browser should just reply "done" when the request is processed, regardless of whether that bit is locally available already or that it had to be downloaded.

The only legal way to obtain download histories would be if the user has a public profile on a web site that lists that user's download history (not likely) or that they would indeed come with a search warrant, confiscate the user's computer, and analyse its contents (even less likely).

So all in all this sounds like an illegal hacking action by the UK police.

Re:Browser exploits? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072043)

Besides which, last I checked even the domain-specific js snoop didn't work anymore in FF or Chrome.

Given that they both basically keep themselves up-to-date, I don't think you could ever reliably say anything about hit rates. And certainly not well enough to claim people are actively clearing their histories.

No idea on IE, but no matter how you cut it, it's most likely total bullshit. More scare tactics from scumbags.

Re:Browser exploits? (3, Insightful)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072177)

Besides which, last I checked even the domain-specific js snoop didn't work anymore in FF or Chrome.

Which to a clueless investigator who know that method once worked would look like everyone running the js script had deleted their histories because he wouldn't be getting any browser history hits.

Re:Browser exploits? (5, Interesting)

RagingMaxx (793220) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072063)

My guess would be that the authorities may have included such a Javascript in the 'scare page' that is currently replacing the regular site. Regular visitors return to the site by following a bookmark, etc, and while the scare page is open in their browser the Javascript runs.

It would have likely been a part of the initial investigation to either set up a crawler to index the site before it was taken down, or simply pull down the RSS feed of new posts and scrape them for hrefs pointing to mp3s or otherwise. They could thus compile a list of "downloadable" files which had appeared on the blog.

Once the scare page has been put up, they could use the Javascript on the page to fetch lists of these download URLs, insert them into a hidden div on the page, and check each URL's "visited" status in unpatched browsers, sending the results back to the server asynchronously and logging them along with the IP and any other browser stats of the user in question. In this way they could glean data about which files from the site the current user had downloaded.

Now, assuming the above is even close to what happened in reality, I would guess that the site in question has had a large number of hits from curious bystanders (ie the slashdot / HN crowd) since the scare page went up, most of whom would have "clean" download histories as they had never visited the site during its operation. Maybe the people gathering stats have misinterpreted this as "lots of users who cleared their download history" before returning to the site.

Hooray for speculation!

Re:Browser exploits? (2)

jeti (105266) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072095)

And if after the reporting on slashdot and other sites, a lot of first-time users had a look at the page, their browser history would be dramatically different than that of regular users.

Re:Browser exploits? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072809)

May be so, but I don't really believe this. The main objection against your theory is that there will be a huge list of potential links (I think a safe assumption is that the site listed tens of thousands of individual downloads), making the page very large. And such an attack would be quite easily detectable, particularly as it's a known issue.

Re:Browser exploits? (4, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072531)

So basically their illegal shenanigans make the global news (including slashdot), and tens to hundreds of thousands of people world wide go clicking links in the article to see the take down notice.

They interpret this as tens to hundreds of thousands of returning pirates, who must have cleared their cache and history!

Now they get to claim the site was WAY more popular in members than it actually was, and some huge conspiracy is going on to keep them hidden and secret.

In their minds, they are not doing anything wrong, and in fact are heros for this action.
So why would anyone be upset at rights violations and want to see if the news stories are true?
That's simply impossible. We are all long time members using the site to download trillions of songs, and we all clear our history daily to avoid getting caught, because their javascriptlet told them so.

It's almost funny in a way

I'm Sorry... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071741)

Did you say "Corporate Police Force"? You know that's not much more than a rent-a-cop.

That's a bit of a leap (2)

sangreal66 (740295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071749)

I did actually RTFA and my conclusion from the comments attributed to the police is that they are either full of shit or they just read some forum posts. Hacking never would have entered my mind.

Serious? (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071753)

If SOCA, Serious Organised Crime Agency dealing with serious organized crime is fighting copyright infringement, then what is the agency called that deals with such things as mobsters, thieves, assassinations and illegal prostitution gangs? Those organized crimes aren't serious enough for SOCA? They sure are causing a lot more harm to the tax-payers.

Re:Serious? (0)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071825)

Those organized crimes aren't serious enough for SOCA? They sure are causing a lot more harm to the tax-payers.

Yes, but those who commit them are more likely to carbomb your offices, kidnap and murder your whole family, or torture you to death. SOCA doesn't want to risk that, you know. Maybe a little "capisce" could make them see the errors of their ways.

Re:Serious? (4, Interesting)

whyloginwhysubscribe (993688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072041)

It is funny that their take-down notice is copyrighted itself too. They should take-down the zdnet article for re-printing a screenshot of it, and then replace it with the actual page that the screen shot is of.

It is worth following JackOfKent on twitter for his insight into this. He noted that the take-down notice could actually be a contempt of court [twitter.com] .

Re:Serious? (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072051)

We've supported the "industry" for our whole lifes, and put some weak and slimy politicians into the government which have their background and friends in that said "industry"...what did you expect to happen?

Re:Serious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072293)

I agree with your sentiment mwvdlee.

My guess is that it's worth more money for law-makers to focus on copyright cases than say drugs, fraud, corruption,illegal arms trade... you know, the greatest hits.
It's rotting, this world.

Re:Serious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072417)

That would be MOCA.
The Mega Organized Crime Agency.
Those guys are mean, with a capital me.

They can just look at you once and you give up on life.

Re:Serious? (2)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072747)

Are you suggesting that torrenting a movie isn't a serious crime worthy of attention from an agency tooled-up for tackling mobsters and terrorist threats? I look forward to the SAS being deployed by local councils to deal with people who sneak for free in to concerts.

Re:Serious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072857)

...what is the agency called that deals with such things as mobsters, thieves, assassinations and illegal prostitution gangs?

It's called HM Revenue and Customs.

Oh, and prostitution isn't illegal here.

Re:Serious? (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39073851)

But there are illegal prostitution gangs that smuggle women into the country and keep them confined, basically enslaved. Those would be good things to break up.

Re:Serious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39073071)

Thuper Theriouth Organith Crime Agenthy!

SOCA - Serious Organised Crime Agency (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071755)

Jesus.

These cretins ought to be dealing with people traffickers, gang crime and other actual Serious Organised Crime.

That they are taking down music sharing sites is ridiculous. The justification I heard recently was even more laughable. It was serious organised crime because it cost the record labels 15 million.

Ah, record label mathematics, even better than cop math!

I don't doubt that these sites are hives of illegal activity. What they are not is a serious threat to the British public, which SOCA should be concentrating on, not pissing into the wind trying to clamp down on piracy.

Re:SOCA - Serious Organised Crime Agency (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071807)

You misunderstand - The "Serious Organised Crime" part refers to the various rights-holder conglomerates.

Re:SOCA - Serious Organised Crime Agency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072165)

Exactly. Notice how it says Serious Organised Crime Agency and not Anti-"Serious Organised Crime" Agency?

They work FOR the serious organised crime aka record labels.

Re:SOCA - Serious Organised Crime Agency (5, Funny)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071907)

I see you're not a politician, so you see it totally wrong.

For starters, it's crime. It's murderous even: it kills music, it kills artists, it kills the studios and labels. And it is theft too, of course.

It's also serious, see above. Murder is a serious crime. So is theft - that's what I see on stickers pasted in shops against shoplifting. "Theft is a serious crime". I'm not going to argue with that, theft is a crime. So is murder. And it's serious.

And organised those web sites are. A large organisation, with its tentacles all over the place. They have hackers gaining access to unreleased music for them, other hackers that post complete albums or illegal recordings of concerts and whatnot. Well organised they must be, how else could they serve those thousands upon thousands of customers every day.

So of course it's a task for the SOCA. Drug dealers be damned, that're minor guys, not worth bothering with. But those music thieves must be stopped!

OK politician mode off. Have a nice day :-)

Re:SOCA - Serious Organised Crime Agency (1)

Shifty0x88 (1732980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072007)

Ok I agree with some points, but on others, well maybe it's your generalizations that kill me.

1. Murder. It's a serious crime

2. Theft can be a serious crime, rob a bank, yes serious, steal a $0.99 song, not so much but stealing none the less.

3. Drugs dealers is a very serious crime and they commit lots of (See 1) especially in hmmm, Mexico for one.

4. Drugs lead to (See 2) by people who want more drugs, which leads to (See 1).

5. Artists are starving because of labels, hence why famous artists create their own label companies, because the big guys suck all the money for themselves so they can get super rich

6. Drug dealers are "large organizations with its tentacles all over the place" as well.... but with guns.... and drugs and (See 4) 7. Do you still see music everywhere? yes. why? Because even with the lost profits it can endure. In fact some artists give away their music, like lots of artist in the beginning of their career

8. When you keep charging 0.99 for the same digital copy of a song with no printed media, it doesn't just cover the costs, it exceeds them.

9. I would bet lots of music gets spread from one person buying the music and then distributing it through the web site, aka. a rip

10. There is more but I can't think of it right now, and the list just didn't seem right without 10 items on it.

See how interconnected drugs can become, a lot more then stealing a CD

{Rant over}

Have a Nice Day! =D

Re:SOCA - Serious Organised Crime Agency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072649)

Whooosh!

Re:SOCA - Serious Organised Crime Agency (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072817)

Exactly. Happy the mods did get it :-)

Re:SOCA - Serious Organised Crime Agency (1)

GamemakerSupreme (2575291) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071943)

My sentiments exactly.

I'm anti-piracy and believe artists should be compensated for their work. However, I also see that trying to stop piracy is a complete waste of time, resources, and taxpayer dollars. It's simply not possible to stop it, or even slow it down that much. Now, normally, this wouldn't mean we shouldn't try to stop it (such as with murder, rape, etc), but piracy can hardly be considered a serious crime (even people who make money off of it).

It's just not worth it. And to make matters worse, all the proposed 'solutions' they keep coming up with would harm innocents and open the doors to censorship and current copyright terms are ridiculous.

Yet we keep treating piracy as if it's a national security issue and trying to rush through draconian laws and treaties. Anyone who says that politicians aren't corporate tools is a fool.

Re:SOCA - Serious Organised Crime Agency (4, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072621)

It's simply not possible to stop it, or even slow it down that much.

Sure you can. You underestimate the lengths they will go to.

All they have to do, is to do away with the user-controlled general-purpose computer, the open internet, and any individual rights you were under the illusion of having.

They're already well on the way to accomplishing all of those goals, while many cheer them on.

Strat

Re:SOCA - Serious Organised Crime Agency (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072629)

A lot of pirates seem to get into piracy for the free stuff, but turn political once they realise how potentially dangerous anti-piracy efforts are. It's easy to conclude that effective copyright enforcement and freedom on the internet are mutually incompatible - and if one has to go, make it copyright.

Re:SOCA - Serious Organised Crime Agency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39073187)

Jesus.

These cretins ought to be dealing with people traffickers, gang crime and other actual Serious Organised Crime.

That they are taking down music sharing sites is ridiculous

This is the way with UK law enforcement these days; they'll bust file sharers, spend all day watching you tube to put people inside for posting videos of themselves speeding BUT if you want them to deal with say theft of your property they'll just give you a crime number and tell you to to sort it with your insurance.

So write them a letter if you are not in the UK (3, Informative)

Mitsoid (837831) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071765)

So write them a letter if you are not in the UK
http://www.soca.gov.uk/contact-soca/complaints [soca.gov.uk]

I personally linked the definition of terrorism ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrorism [merriam-webster.com] ) in my e-mail and called them out on their terrorist actions

Sure, it's non-violent terrorism.. but it STILL IS terrorism....

Re:So write them a letter if you are not in the UK (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072055)

And you think they care? Isn't that a naive thought? I mean, seeing what Sony, Microsoft and all the others got away with and such...

Re:So write them a letter if you are not in the UK (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072225)

Write them a letter if you are in the UK even. In fact, it'll probably be more effective.

Personally for me, as a British citizen living in the UK, admittance by a police officer that my PC may have been hacked simply for visiting a site linked in a news article gives me all the justification I feel I need to submit a formal complaint to the IPCC and to my MP.

Whether it has or not, and whether the officer knew what he was on about is neither here nor there, the fact he believes that it's legitimate policing needs to be stamped right out.

Re:So write them a letter if you are not in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072395)

+1 this. We need to be writing to our MPs. This government organisation has overstepped the mark on so many levels, and needs to be pulled up on it. Let's not just watch this happen.

Re:So write them a letter if you are not in the UK (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072571)

If it is an admission by a police officer, then don't write to SOCA, write to the IPCC [ipcc.gov.uk] , who have the power to investigate claims of misconduct by members of SOCA.

Re:So write them a letter if you are not in the UK (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072427)

It's not even close to being actual terrorism. I'm all for hyperbole, but that's way off :)

Re:So write them a letter if you are not in the UK (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072567)

If downloading is theft, scare tactics are terrorism. Selective newspeak is not allowed.

Huh! (2)

TheP4st (1164315) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071795)

In what parallel universe were the RnB exclusive blog activities Serious Organized Crime? Okay, modern RnB could be considered a crime, but still...

Input from the industry: (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071813)

Give the impression you're going to come into their homes & cut their dicks off.

Same Country (0)

wadeal (884828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071835)

This same country has parts of the population believing that your TV can be detected from a van outside your house. They're trying the same tactic with the internet... Nothing new.

Re:Same Country (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071905)

It used to be easy enough to detect a CRT from a distance, but LCDs make it a lot harder

Re:Same Country (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072535)

A tv can be detected from a van outside your house, the TV's local oscillator can be detected (you can determine what the TV is tuned to from it).

These days though, they just have a list of households with no TV license and send a man around to knock on the door.

Re:Same Country (0)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072581)

The problem is, having a 50Hz CRT does not require a license, operating a device capable of receiving broadcast TV signals does. If you have a TV that is connected to a VCR, DVD player, or games console, but not an aerial or a cable or satellite TV feed, then you don't need a license.

Re:Same Country (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072659)

True, but realistically a TV is just such an essential part of a modern lifestyle that it's almost unthinkable for a household not to have one. That's grounds to suspect any unlicenced household of having an illegal TV. Not proof, but suspicious enough to send an inspector around to take a look.

The above posters are right: TV detector vans were used once upon a time, when TVs were rarer and electromagnetically noisy. They don't work on non-CRT TVs though.

Re:Same Country (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39073031)

There's some speculation that the "TV Detector Vans" were just a van with an aerial on the roof intended to scare people into buying a license.

http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/10/31/bbc-admits-that-tv-d.html [boingboing.net]

Mind, this was in 2006 when LCD sets were already on the rise.But the BBC are incredibly secretive about the technology their vans use - but if it's a secret, then it is inadmissible in court.

There's also plenty of anecdotal evidence that the vans were actually just set-dressing - something the BBC clearly DO understand. They may have hired some of the people who used to do this kind of thing in WWII (cardboard tanks, etc, to make it look like our armed forces were stronger, or elsewhere).

I don't really think they are necessary now, even if they are bullshit. People now know that a database is a far more effective tool at searching for unlicensed TVs than a van. And watching live streams from the BBC attracts the same license fee requirement (although not viewing streams on demand), so a dedicated TV is no longer required. The downside to this method is the false positives ; I have at least one friend who chose to live his life without a TV for some years, and found that the constant hassle from the TV licensing department was unpleasant, and he's not the only one.

Re:Same Country (2)

Cederic (9623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39073441)

Harrassment is illegal. Get him to formally complain to the police, his MP and the local council, demand action and if necessary ask a court for an ASBO.

Use the system against itself.

libel (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39071837)

Who do the site owners sue for libel? They published a written message on the web site claiming that the majority of music files made available from the web site were stolen from artists. They know that none of the files were "stolen" from artists. They may be illegal copies. But they were not stolen. Also, if the music files were not hosted on the site, were they really "available via this site"? If the whole "conspiracy to commit fraud" thing falls through, which is pretty likely, then I think the site owners have a good case for suing.

the English gov is a subsidiary of large corps (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39071845)

The reason for the public debt in the UK is twofold:

  1. Reluctance to increase pension age in line with increase in lifespan - now being fixed;
  2. Transfer of government money from economic and social programs to simply donating money and resources to large business. Since the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act, government's primary motivator has been to find businesses run by sufficiently generous friends to which to inefficiently transfer the business of government or property of the people. The excuse is that "the free market does things better" - the truth is that "rich people want more money and are prepared to lobby you for it".

This is just an example of the second.

(Scotland sees the effect, though is having trouble understanding the cause, and a significant proportion are demanding independence - I look forward to the political war over the next 5 years.)

What Judge? (4, Interesting)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39071861)

What judge granted the 15 million claim? You can't take down people's businesses just because someone claims they are costing them money in illegal damages. If that's the truly a fact, they could sue in court for the losses. Once the losses were validated by a Judge, they could first ask the losses to be paid. If those weren't paid, they could have the assets of the business confiscated. Maybe *then* you would have a case for taking down the website, but not before.

Organised crime (1)

captain_dope_pants (842414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072011)

Luckily all the crimes I commit are completely disorganised. You'll never get me SOCA !

Prejudiced the prosecution (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072025)

What they did there was make a false allegation against him and anyone who downloaded music. He can't now get a fair trial because he's been accused of theft by the police publicly but they haven't brought a theft charge against him confirming it is a false claim.

They prejudiced his trial.

So what they need to do at this point is get back within the limits of the law, and stop propagandizing. The police have no place in society as a political campaign group.

Also they need to recognize that RIAA now represents less than 30% of music sold, and that 2011 was the biggest year for music sales on record. Copyright infringement is copyright infringement, it's dealt with by copyright laws, not theft laws. The only input they should be seeking on a take down notice is LEGAL input on the LAWS as they stand in the UK. Nothing else.

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/cue-the-music-driven-by-digital-music-sales-up-in-2011/

What will happen now, is those false claims they made will be used in court as evidence of police misrepresentation of evidence.

Re:Prejudiced the prosecution (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072479)

I shoulda visited the site a few hundred dozen, times. In Canada, downloading music is legal. Damn I love the levy, I really do. But you've got a very good point, not only did they ruin the chain of evidence, but they've ensured that there will never, ever be a fair trial what so ever.

Personally for him? I'd sue them into the ground for defamation of character and libel. They've already lost as it stands, as they can't use anything they've already claimed as evidence.

Re:Prejudiced the prosecution (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072677)

Here in the UK and most of Europe, we get the levy... and it's *still* illegal to download or copy*. Is it any wonder people are starting to dislike the media industry so much?

* It's actually illegal to so much as rip your purchased CD onto a portable player for convenience in the UK, but no-one bothers to enforce that one.

Re:Prejudiced the prosecution (3, Interesting)

Whibla (210729) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072787)

* It's actually illegal to so much as rip your purchased CD onto a portable player for convenience in the UK

Not for long, hopefully! Proposed Changes [bbc.co.uk]

As one of the talking heads is quoted as saying in the above linked article:

"The review pointed out that if you have a situation where 90% of your population is doing something, then it's not really a very good law,"

A 'rare' and sensible insight! Now let's hope the government can get a move on actually passing it, as a bill, through Parliment.

Re:Prejudiced the prosecution (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072865)

Pretty sure there's been rebellions over that type of stuff. But my history might be a bit rusty....

Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072057)

How is this possible? Why are the people of the United Kingdom putting up with this crap? What is happening over there?

Canadians are fortunate enough to have stopped legislation the Conservatives were trying to ram down our throats giving police over arching access to our web surfing history and habits including cell phone usage WITHOUT a warrant. It got stopped in it's in tracks (not the first time either) because we fought back. I suggest the people of other nations stand up for their rights and not put up with this. Even the major media outlets were calling for it be thwarted.

Everything I read on this site about the UK lately quite frankly scares me. Didn't you learn anything from WWII and the Nazi's.

WAKE UP TAKE YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR ASSES AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, write a letter to your MP, sign a petition, protest! Do something!!! SOCA wtf is that?! Sounds like fascism to me.

Little England ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072059)

is now Little US - corruption is now openly flaunted.

Its their network, from your ip to the world (2)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072065)

Its their "network" and your ip and usage is logged for a short time in some detail. Ip and billing data might be kept for many, many months, but if your quick :) They know the site, the names of the files and have a time frame. The rest is UK wide database work.
This was done with very unique data from newsgroup posts. Take the data to the isp's and do a massive search seeking people who downloaded the file/s.

Does anybody else think... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072081)

Does anybody else think this might be a trap to catch anonymous when they try to hit back at SOCA?

Re:Does anybody else think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072233)

Yeah, SOCA will smash Anonymous' fists with their face!

Captcha: useful

Someone's got an eye on retirement (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072323)

Dear Chief Inspector Dimbleby, please taze those bros for us. By the way, we may have a position of Director of Law Enforcement Liason available up next quarter. No reason we mention that. How's your police pension looking? Love and cuddles, the IFPI.

No pythonesque comment yet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072327)

Im still waiting SOCA announcement on joining The Royal Society of Very Seriously Organised Agencies.

Just speculation here... (2)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072555)

Take this with as much salt as you think it needs.... but the easiest way I can think of to do this is actually quite possible with no hacking.

Step 1: Take over the site through legal means.
Step 2: Troll through the server logs, getting the IP addresses of everyone that's downloaded a .torrent file in the last month. There's a good chance the configuration for how much to keep in the way of logs won't have been nailed down to "almost nothing" because until recently, most of the sites that hosted nothing but .torrent files thought they were on fairly solid legal ground so didn't need to worry about that sort of thing.
Step 3: Filter the list you got in step 2 for all IP addresses assigned to UK ISPs.
Step 4: Contact those ISPs with a court order requesting:
- Identity of who had IP address XX.XX.XX.XX at the appropriate date/time.
- What else those people had been downloading. You don't need DPI-type information; if a customer has also been downloading lots of other .torrent files over an insecure link (dead easy to find out because many ISPs operate transparent proxy servers for HTTP traffic) and subsequently used a lot of bandwidth, that may well be enough to get a court order to seize the customer's own computer equipment.

You want a higher burden of evidence before getting a court order? Fine, limit it to IP addresses that have been visiting the site regularly and downloaded a lot. Yes, dynamic IP addresses do change but they don't typically change on an hourly basis. A single IP address that downloads a lot over the course of a couple of hours could easily be enough.

There. You've now got enough information to monitor the UK without having to plant a single trojan or do a single thing illegally.

Re:Just speculation here... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072701)

Except for a flaw in 2b: It would requite SOCA sieze computer equipment from a significant number of users. They could do that easily enough, but they couldn't do it without being noticed - one of those victims would be sure to talk about it, and we'd all know by now. As we've heard nothing about home computer seizures, that rules out another possibility.

I'm favoring the simpliest explanation: Someone at SOCA just made the 'deleting histories' thing up in order to scare people a little more. They are relying on scare tactics at the moment (Just look at the notice they put up!), and hinting that they can tell if a history has been deleted is a way to up the scareyness a little more.

Bootlegging Piracy (2)

ninsega (2574265) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072573)

It's bootleggers we need to worry about. Piracy is pretty much try-before-you-buy.

It's a civil matter, not criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072641)

As far as I am aware (being a UK person) copyright theft is a civil, not criminal matter, unless they can prove money changed hands and you where doing it for profit/commercial gain.

I am half minded to write to my MP, but then again, he is just a government jellyfish (ie no spine) who employs his wife as his PA (ie Morally dubious)

I think soon, there will be a revolution of types. The MPAA and their lot have to grasp the fact that there is no way back to the good old days of peddling of shiny silver disks for about £14/$20 a go.

All coppers is lying bastards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39072867)

Most of the stuff they've been coming out with is just bullshit pathetic attempts at intimidation. They have no idea what people have in their "download history". I did go to the site the day they put that warning up and checked the page source, they weren't trying the CSS history trick at all. (Which most browsers have fixed now, haven't they?)

Nah. The police are trying to intimidate with cheap threats, but they don't have anything to back it up with. Chancers. Fuck 'em.

Can anyone confirm this takedown is real? (1)

plaukas pyragely (1630517) | more than 2 years ago | (#39072987)

At first it looked like some kind of prank?

Protest outside SOCA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39073139)

If anyone fancies protesting outside their office, it is around the corner from MI6 on Tinworth Street in Vauxhall, London. There's no signage to identify them except "Spring Gardens".
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=Spring+Gardens,+Tinworth+Street,+London&hl=en&ll=51.48959,-0.121004&spn=0.001102,0.002953&sll=51.489433,-0.121085&layer=c&cbp=13,26.7,,0,-7.43&cbll=51.48959,-0.121004&hnear=Spring+Gardens,+Tinworth+St,+London+SE11+5EH,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=19&panoid=GFzwFoPRllC2mkNg2Xo-9g
- see http://cryptome.org/eyeball/uk-soca/uk-soca.htm

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