>ACS Law UK Accused of Sending Wrongful ISP Piracy Threat Letters − ISPreview UK

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By: MarkJ – 27 January, 2010 (10:00 AM)Score: 60839 – Piracy
p2p lawConsumer magazine Which? has once again accused ACS:Law solicitors of wrongfully issuing 150 customers of UK broadband ISPs with copyright infringement letters for “suspected” illegal downloading activity. Those targeted are frightened into paying a settlement fee of between £300-£500 or face the threat of court action.

The move follows a November 2009 ruling by the Royal Courts of Justice (here), which granted ACS:Law approval to demand the private personal details for thousands of customers from UK ISPs. The people concerned are suspected of involvement with the illegal file sharing (P2P) of approximately 291 movie titles.

Now Which? claims that a good number of consumers receiving such letters have again been wrongly targeted and include some elderly people who do not to even appear to know what a BitTorrent P2P file sharing service is. ACS:Law claims that “the information we get is completely accurate,” though it was forced to drop an unknown number of cases prior to Christmas.

Last December’s ACS:Law Statement:

“We have been reviewing all cases which are currently open, and a good number of these cases have been dropped, where we do not either consider litigation to be a viable option or to be beneficial to our clients. A letter has been sent out today informing those involved of this, and explaining that they now owe our client’s a duty of care to ensure this type of activity does not happen again.”

ACS:Law tracks abuse by monitoring the Internet Protocol ( IP ) address of online users, which is assigned to your computer each time you go online. However this is not an effective way of determining a computer user’s true identity. IP’s can easily be faked, hijacked, redirected and generally abused and used in ways that the systems employed by such trackers cannot detect.

It’s noted that 25,000 of the 30,000 IP addresses that had been collected by late 2009 belonged to BT users. ACS: Law are currently also under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Those receiving such a letter would do well to read THIS ARTICLE on TorrentFreak.

During June 2009 the UK Internet Service Providers Association ( ISPA ) said that they were “not confident in [ACS:Law’s] ability to identify [ILLEGAL] users“, a position matched by Which?

Comments: 361

asa logoNebuk89
Posted: 27 January, 2010 – 12:27 PM
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I really dont see how IP can be a certain method of identification IP address changes depending on the server you are connected to i.e. if I go to a mcDonalds and use their IP address I will have a different address to at home, but if I am picked up for file sharing the address they will get is mcDonalds.
By this inference ANYONE with an insecure home network is at risk of others connecting, file sharing and then being caught and you being charged with it.

Aside from this it wont be long until a piece of malware is produced to simulate this just for the purpose of being picked up thus anyone who gets the malware will show as file sharing on the current system rendering it completely useless…

Anyone who pays is giving in, there is no point as making a conviction stick without the seizing of assets to check for the software or getting a mac address will fail if disputed..probably..

asa logoMarkJ
Posted: 27 January, 2010 – 12:49 PM
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That kind of tool/software already exists and has been around for many many years. It’s quite easy to redirect your IP address or spoof the details of somebody else in P2P so that any Rights Holder trackers record the wrong details. Some P2P clients come with similar tools built-in.

asa logoChris
Posted: 27 January, 2010 – 1:26 PM
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@Nebuk89, you are confusing the address assigned to the mcdonalds web site, with your ip address, which is assigned to you by your isp when you connect to the net, combined with a timestamp it can be used to identify your connection.

See whatismyipaddress.com to find out your external ip address at the moment.

By itself, however it cannot identify YOUR PC. I.e. if you live with others it could be your housemate, or even a neighbour that has gained access to your wifi.

asa logoLaura
Posted: 27 January, 2010 – 2:57 PM
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Don’t BT share and move IP addresses anyway unless you have a static IP address? so one minute an IP address can belong to one person and then to someone completely different?

I quote from BT; “All of our broadband options come with Dynamic IP addresses as standard. … It allows many devices to share limited address space on a network. However, if a Hub or router is switched off or the broadband connection is interrupted, it’s likely that a different dynamic IP will be allocated.”

So how can this work? What about shared housing too? What about BT Fonero customers who are already opening up their networks? This one man band sicko, in my eyes, is just preying on the old and vulnerable just for a quick buck!!

I also think making people liable for having their networks secure is wrong, my grandad barely knows how to use his computer, let alone secure his internet network!mad

asa logoMarkJ
Posted: 27 January, 2010 – 3:34 PM
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Dynamic IP’s are no protection because the basic logs of any ISP can easily match the time, date and IP to a specific user.

asa logoMel
Posted: 27 January, 2010 – 4:11 PM
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BT Fon employs tunneling to segregate the traffic of the BT Fon wireless AP from that of the BT customer, so the BT customer does not share their IP address with that of Fon users. I think regular non-BT Fon does share IP address though.

asa logoNebuk89
Posted: 29 January, 2010 – 9:28 AM
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I fear you are not getting what an IP address is Chris Laura is right, you IP address is determined by the server you are connected to which allocates you an IP address Therefore connecting to a different server i.e. a different network location will allocate you a different IP address the MAC address of a computer does not change.
My firs point is also reinforced by BBC who have written an article to the same affect.
Please note!!
I was also refering to the free WIFI that mcdonalds provides not their website 🙂
And Mark J to note what method do you believe they use to map this to a specific user? The ARP? This would work but is not in their terms of service for them to use this to track you and thus cannot be done.

asa logoNebuk89
Posted: 29 January, 2010 – 9:29 AM
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Sorry markJ just misread yours I guess my wording wasnt clear so you misread as well I was trying to refer to the Wifi McDonalds provides not their actual website!!

asa logoConcerned Kelly
Posted: 15 February, 2010 – 10:48 PM
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I returned home today to a letter demanding £ 400 from ACS Law for illegal download of dance music. I was at work on the date and time of the offence and I’ve never used a file sharing site – I can barely use itunes!
Should I just ignore the letter? It does look quite official and appears to have a court stamp.
Help and advice would be appreciated!
Cheers

asa logopaul
Posted: 15 March, 2010 – 10:37 PM
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i got a letter 5days ago they arent getting a penny from me!!

asa logome!!!!
Posted: 17 March, 2010 – 4:08 AM
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Do you know its odd we were given 14 days to pay or go to court nearly 6 months ago and heard nothing since no warning letters or that it has been dropped absolutely nothing, still dread the day we receive the 3rd letter from them.
It is out and out harassment of something we were supposed to have downloaded and never even heard of.

asa logopaul
Posted: 26 March, 2010 – 10:08 AM
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jd fon employs tunneling to segrete the traffic of the dj fon wireless ap from that of the jd customer, so the customer does not their ip address with that of fon users. i think regular non-jd fon does share ip address though.
Dynamic IP’s are no protection because the basic logs of any ISP can easily match the time, date and IP to a specific user.
That kind of tool/software already exists and has been around for many many years. It’s quite easy to redirect your IP address or spoof the details of somebody else in P2P so that any Rights Holder trackers record the wrong details. Some P2P clients come with similar tools built-in.

asa logojez g
Posted: 15 May, 2010 – 10:01 AM
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Hi,

I am no good with computers so be patient with me please.

I have had a sky account turned down because of one of those ACS letters on my dads sky account. this is a first offence letter but asks for almost 500 pounds. if i pay this will i be able to open an account?

your help is much appreciatted.

asa logobrad
Posted: 24 May, 2010 – 3:03 PM
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ive just recieved one off these letters myself they say i have to pay £400 pounds

asa logoMike
Posted: 5 June, 2010 – 3:15 PM
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Well now, this is interesting coz I have just got home and found a letter from ACS alleging that I offered for uploading a track I have never heard of, using Bit Comet, which I don’t have and quoting an I.P. address which does not apear to be mine using “CMD” or “whatismyipaddress.com” All this is supposed to have taken place last September. They demand £295 and go on to explain that if they take me to court it is likely to cost me a lot more!!

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