End User piracy surveillance & privacy

Golden Eye – not just another James Bond villain

You will no doubt remember the case of evil villain ACS Law where consumers were bullied into stumping up cash with the threat of being taken to court for online copyright infringement. Victims often had no idea of the legality of what ACS Law was doing or where the burden of proof lay and often found it easier to just pay up rather than fight their case in court.

The spectre of ACS Law has been released from its high security bottle, has morphed into a new disguise and is once more on the prowl for hapless victims. The name of this new ghoul is Golden Eye. Just hearing that name should make you shudder.

Golden Eye are trying, through the courts, to compel Telefonica UK  to release personal information about O2 customers so that they can spam them with speculative claims about copyright infringement and perhaps grab a  quick settlement fee. Golden Eye are not the copyright owners, but rather hold an ‘enforcement-only’ license with no specific mandate from the 12 other porn studios who they act for.

The Open Rights Group is trying to intervene on behalf of O2 customers. This isn’t about stopping copyright owners pursuing their legal rights although in my mind it is not easy to provide a high enough standard of evidence to prove guilt here. It’s about privacy. The case is currently at the appeal stage because the judge initially did not sanction the handing over of some of the data saying:

“that would be tantamount to the court sanctioning the sale of the intended Defendants’ privacy and data protection rights to the highest bidder. Accordingly, in my judgment, to make such an order would not proportionately and fairly balance the interests of the Other Claimants with the Intended Defendents’ interests.”

Golden Eye apparently takes around 75% of the revenues collected.

There is more detail on the ORG website. I guess the real point of this post is to encourage you you help ORG with their legal costs in pursuing this case by making a donation. In particular if you are an ISP it is in your interest to stop this kind of company coming along and worrying your customers on a speculative basis.

I have made a donation on behalf of Timico and encourage you to follow suit. There is a “donate”  button on the ORG site and I repeat the link here.