Oops — an extraneous "you" in the first line.
The product page for the Sony Dash does not really shed any more light on what it is, but the pictures indicate it is a clunky tablet-like device which you can be stood on a table against a backdrop of different home furnishings, mostly in soft focus.
A Sony press release from 2010 says that:
Sony today announced that its new Dash, a Wi-Fi touch screen device that pushes real-time, personalized Internet content to users in their homes or offices
Apparently "Chumby Industries" is a service provider for this sort of device which, according to its own website, had "year-long hiatus sometime relatively recently.
So it looks as if those who stuck with the device, despite an apparent year-long absence of some of the services, suffered a bug at some point which prevented them from using it, and that Sony has released a patch to fix it.
Web blocking certainly is legal under UK law
And under European law, in its current form:
Article 8(2), directive 2001/29/EC: "Each Member State shall take the measures necessary to ensure that rightholders whose interests are affected by an infringing activity carried out on its territory can bring an action for damages and/or apply for an injunction and, where appropriate, for the seizure of infringing material as well as of devices, products or components referred to in Article 6(2)."
Injunctive relief (such as a blocking injunction) is specifically recognised as acceptable by the law which grants ISPs "mere conduit" status:
Article 12(3), directive 2000/31/EC: "3. This Article shall not affect the possibility for a court or administrative authority, in accordance with Member States' legal systems, of requiring the service provider to terminate or prevent an infringement."
Of course, this is just law, and could be struck down by a court on, for example, human rights grounds, and the CJEU's Advocate General made some interesting comments on human rights considerations in the context of blocking of open, free Wi-Fi recently but, to date, the courts have been relatively comfortable granting blocking injunctions.
The maximum sentence in the UK for any copyright offence is 10 years
It is worth bearing in mind that the charges in question do not appear to be charges under copyright law. They are, apparently:
one count of converting and/or transferring criminal property and six counts of possession of an article for use in fraud
Possession of an article for use in fraud is covered by s6 Fraud Act 2006, which carries up to 5 years imprisonment.
In the EU there is only a requirement for ISPs to monitor users, other providers (wifi, VPN etc) don't need to keep any data.
In the EU, there is no requirement of data retention at all any more – there was, for some years, but this was struck down by the CJEU in the Digital Rights Ireland case.
However, the European directive would have covered providers of Wi-Fi services: it uses the term "publicly available electronic communications services". (Article 3(1) directive 2006/24/EC).
This definition comes from the telecommunications regulatory framework – Article 2 directive 2002/21/EC defines "electronic communications service" as "a service normally provided for remuneration which consists wholly or mainly in the conveyance of signals on electronic communications networks".
Whether the Wi-Fi service would generate or process in the course of its operation of the types of data to which a retention notice could relate (list here, Part 3 in particular) is perhaps a different matter, and likely depends on the service in question. A service requiring subscriber registration, for example, or entering an email address, may well have been in scope (for example, paragraph 11(3)).
Just about every computer on the market today runs Unix, except the Mac (and nobody cares about it). -- Bill Joy 6/21/85