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WinMX World :: Forum  |  Discussion  |  WinMx World News  |  BT granted adjournment to delay passing of private customer data to UK law firm

Author Topic: BT granted adjournment to delay passing of private customer data to UK law firm  (Read 722 times)

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Offline DaBees-Knees

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BT has today been granted a stay of execution in its bid to challenge attempts of rights holders to obtain personal details about customers without convincing evidence of illicit file sharing.

Chief master Winegarten granted BT an adjournment to a court order brought by solicitors' firm Gallant Macmillan, acting on behalf of the Ministry of Sound, which would have required the broadband provider to hand over the personal details of hundreds of its customers accused of sharing copyrighted content.

BT, the UK's largest broadband provider, said it would challenge such court orders until the rights holder and law firm can prove that accusations of illegal file sharing have "some basis". BT raised concerns about the customer-tracking methods employed on behalf of firms such as Gallant Macmillan and ACS:Law last week as the personal details of thousands of broadband users – including at least 316 customers of the BT-owned internet service provider Plusnet – suspected of sharing copyrighted content were leaked online in the aftermatch of an attack on the website of ACS:Law.

BT told the Guardian: "The incident involving the ACS:Law data leak has further damaged people's confidence in the current process.

"We're pleased that the court has agreed to an adjournment so that our concerns can be examined by the court, this will then act as a precedent/test case for the future.

"We want to ensure broadband subscribers are adequately protected so that rights holders can pursue their claims for copyright infringement without causing unnecessary worry to innocent people. We have not simply consented to these orders in the past, we have asked for stricter terms as public concern has risen. The data leak with ACS:Law prompted us to take further action today.

"We are also seeking a moratorium on outstanding applications and orders."

Most, if not all, of the internet service providers served with court orders brought by ACS:Law have now said they will challenge the obligation to disclose customer data to law firms, prompting fresh spotlight on the disputed evidence-gathering techniques used to prove that a broadband user has shared copyrighted material. Michael Forrester, of Manchester-based Ralli solicitors, told the Guardian that the current system of proving illicit sharing is "fraught with problems". He said: "Dependence on an IP addresses to target infringers appears to cause many false positive identifications, as the current situation seems to highlight. The vast majority of the people who had contacted us say they are entirely innocent of downloading the material alleged and believe they have cogent arguments to support this."

Hundreds of broadband users accused of sharing copyrighted content by ACS:Law are preparing for coordinated legal against the London-based law firm, which has had more than 200 complaints made against it to consumer watchdog Which?. Those contemplating the action say they have been wrongly identified as breaking the law and that the pursuit of them classifies as harassment.

The Information Commissioner is investigating the data breach which led to the public exposure of thousands of customers' private information. If it is determined that the exposure was the result of ACS:Law's own data security shortcomings, rather than the fault of external hackers, the Information Commissioner could levy a £500,000 fine on the law firm.

At last these applications are being challanged.  8)

WinMX World :: Forum  |  Discussion  |  WinMx World News  |  BT granted adjournment to delay passing of private customer data to UK law firm

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