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  1. Approximately 26 percent of the desktop computers worldwide are still running Windows XP right now, but the United Kingdom is really keen on cutting down its market share by forcing companies in the country to upgrade as soon as possible. In a notification posted on its website, the UK's privacy watchdog warned that out-of-date software is currently one of the eight most common security vulnerabilities leading to data leaks, so companies that are failing to secure their PCs due to this reason could get fines of up to 500,000 pounds ($844,000 / 613,000 euros). “In just the past couple of mont
  2. City of London Police continues its crackdown on websites that facilitate piracy and sales of counterfeit products. In celebration of World Intellectual Property Day, the police announced that to date they have suspended 2,500 domain names linked to counterfeit material. So far, the efforts to shut down pirate sites have been less successful, but this may change in the near future. Over the past few months City of London Police have been working together with copyright holders to topple sites that provide pirated or counterfeit content. The police started by sending warning letters to site
  3. The music and movie industries and several of the UK's leading ISPs have reached terms on a deal to tackle Internet piracy. The arrangement will see the BPI and MPA monitoring people sharing files illegally and the ISPs sending them "escalating" warning letters. The introduction of the controversial Digital Economy Act in 2010 was supposed to significantly reduce online piracy but four years on just about nothing has changed. The legislation envisioned repeat infringers being cut off from the Internet, but that deterrent has never come to pass. Instead, frustrated rightsholders – who believ
  4. Last week news broke that UK ISPs are teaming up with copyright holders to notify Internet subscribers caught sharing pirated material. The plan has been widely covered in the media, but unfortunately fact and fiction are often intertwined. So how scary are these piracy warnings really? Let's find out. In an effort to curb online piracy, the movie and music industries have reached an agreement with the UK’s leading ISPs to send warnings to alleged copyright infringers. Thus far details on the proposed system have been scarce, leading to the wildest assumptions and in some cases a core misunde
  5. With help from Hollywood, City of London Police have arrested the alleged operator of Immunicity and a range of torrent site proxies. The 20-year-old man was questioned at a local police station, and pending further investigation was released on bail. Earlier today news broke that the proxy service Immunicity had been taken offline by the UK Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). Several reverse proxies offering access to blocked sites such as The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents suffered the same fate. Initially it appeared that the domain seizures were the result of a request PIPC
  6. Continuing its attacks on piracy-related domains, the UK Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has shut down the proxy service Immunicity and several torrent site proxies. The domain names have "seized" by the police and now display a banner warning that the police are investigating the matter. Since last year City of London Police have been working together with copyright holders to topple sites that provide or link to pirated content. The police started by sending warning letters to site owners, asking them to go legit or shut down. Late last year this was followed by a campaign targete
  7. Less than a week after the UK 'piracy police' shut down the proxy service Immunicity and arrested its owner, clones of the service have started to appear online. The services allow people to access The Pirate Bay and other blocked sites. Just like the original site they are completely free of charge. When Immunicity launched last year TorrentFreak spoke with the owner, who told us he created the service as a protest against increasing censorship efforts in the UK. “We are angered by the censorship that is happening in the UK and in other countries across the globe, so we got our thinking ca
  8. This week, police took unprecedented action by shutting down proxies facilitating access to torrent sites blocked in the UK. With the surprise arrest of the sites' alleged operator leaving people scratching heads, TorrentFreak decided to find out what emboldened police to go after sites that neither carry nor link to any infringing content. Since the launch of Operation Creative last year, UK police have contacted a range of so-called ‘pirate’ sites while giving their operators the opportunity to shut down quietly to avoid further action. It was pretty much certain that torrent and streamin
  9. Domain name suspension requests sent by City of London Police to registrars are not being met with cooperation in a majority of cases. New information obtained through a Freedom of Information request reveals that a total of 70 requests were denied, with just five being granted. Earlier this week City of London Police arrested the alleged operator of a range of proxy sites. The action was framed as a success but new information obtained by TorrentFreak shows that other police anti-piracy efforts are far less effective. “Operation Creative” began with the sending of warning letters to site o
  10. UK ISPs have agreed to send their customers warning letters when they pirate movies, music and TV shows, but before the scheme starts thoughts are turning to its potential failure. The Prime Minister's IP advisor says 'VCAP' needs to be followed by something more enforceable, including disconnections, fines and jail sentences. Proponents of the Digital Economy Act 2010 believed it had the solutions to deter consumer file-sharing, but four years on and the relevant measures remain dormant. This inactivity led to a new and recently announced solution, the so-called Voluntary Copyright Alerts P
  11. A new tool released by the Open Rights Group today reveals that 20% of the 100,000 most-visited websites on the Internet are blocked by the parental filters of UK ISPs. With the newly launched website the group makes it easier to expose false positives and show that the blocking efforts ban many legitimate sites, TorrentFreak included. Internet filters are now on the political agenda in many countries around the world. While China and Iran are frontrunners for political censorship, the UK is leading the way when it comes to porn and other content deemed unsuitable for children. In addition
  12. Just a few days after the first Google Glasses went over the counter in the UK, the gadget is already being banned from local cinemas. Fearing that pirates will use the technology to illegally record the latest Hollywood blockbusters, Google Glass wearers will now be asked to take them off. The movie industry sees the illegal recording of movies as one of the biggest piracy threats and for years has gone to extremes to stop it. It started well over a decade ago when visitors began sneaking handheld camcorders into theaters. These big clunkers were relatively easy to spot, but as time passed
  13. The Commissioner of City of London Police admitted this week that just 4% to 10% of sites shut down when contacted by the new Intellectual Property Crime Unit. Alongside odd comments about the threat of "BitNet" and Tor making up "90% of the Internet", Leppard noted that enforcement will not provide a way out of the piracy problem. This week’s IP Enforcement Summit in London brought together experts and stakeholders from all over the world to discuss intellectual property issues. In attendance were representatives from Hollywood, the music industry, and a whole swathe of companies reliant on
  14. This week, MPAA chief and former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd praised pirate site blockades as an important anti-piracy measure. Speaking at the IP Summit in London, Dodd said that ISP blockades are one of the most effective tools available. Does this mean that Hollywood will try to get these blacklists in place on its home turf? This week many key figures in the copyright protection and enforcement industries gathered for the International IP Enforcement Summit, organized by the UK Government. One of the main topics of discussion was Internet piracy, and how to prevent people from accessing and
  15. Several UK Internet providers have quietly added a list of new domains to their secretive anti-piracy blocklists. TorrentFreak was able to confirm that several popular torrent site proxies were added over the past weekend. However, the blocked domains have been quickly replaced by new ones, continuing the cat-and-mouse game that never seems to end. Following a series of High Court orders, six UK ISPs are required to block subscriber access to several of the world’s largest torrent sites. The blocks are somewhat effective, at least in preventing subscribers from accessing the domains directl
  16. A new survey of young children and adults has found consensus on what should be charged for content online. In both groups, 49% said that people should be able to download content they want for free, with a quarter of 16-24 year olds stating that file-sharing was the only way they could afford to obtain it. The results of a new survey commissioned by YouGov SixthSense on the file-sharing and content consumption habits of citizens in the UK have just been published. Among broader issues, the study, which draws on a sample of 1,907 adults over 16 years old and 614 children aged between 8 and
  17. This morning movie streaming portal Cricfree.tv had its domain name "seized" by UK Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit. Whether the intervention will prove to be very effective has yet to be seen, as the site is already back online using a new domain name. A few hours ago we reported that City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) managed to shutter FileCrop, a popular file-hosting search engine. FileCrop wasn’t the only site that disappeared. The same happened to the sports streaming portal Cricfree.tv, which is a fairly popular site with millions of visitors a mo
  18. Continuing its attacks on file-sharing-related domains, the UK Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has shut down its very first search engine. Following an earlier BPI request for it to be blocked by the country's ISPs, in the past few hours file-host search site FileCrop was shuttered as part of a PIPCU investigation. Following its launch in the last quarter of 2013, City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been working hard to disrupt the activities of sites in the file-sharing arena. The Unit works on the recommendations of international music, movie and T
  19. Soon, UK citizens are free to copy MP3s, CDs and DVDs for personal use. The copyright law revisions, which partially went into effect this month, legalizes this common form of copying. The changes, which will also broaden fair use rights, aim to close the gap between the law and public norms. Most people in the UK may not have realized it, but every time they backed up an MP3 or made a copy of a CD or DVD for personal use, they were breaking the law. Starting today this is no longer the case for the disabled, thanks to a revision of copyright law that just went into effect. Previously the Gov
  20. The UK's top IP advisor has published recommendations on how search engines should deal with online piracy. The document envisions demoting sites based on numbers of copyright notices received, removal of others entirely after acknowledging ISP blocking orders, and warning consumers away from sites without industry certification. Mike Weatherley, a Conservative MP and Intellectual Property Adviser to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, has become increasingly involved in the online piracy debate in recent months. Weatherley’s current focus is on the role search engines can play in reducing inf
  21. Torrentz.eu, the largest torrent search engine on the Internet, has had its domain name suspended following a request from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit in the UK. The site continues to operate under two alternative domains, and is hoping to move the .eu domain to a new registrar. Over the past few months City of London Police have been working together with copyright holders to topple sites that provide or link to pirated content. The police started by sending warning letters to site owners, asking them to go legit or shut down. Late last year this was followed by a campaign
  22. City of London Police and Hollywood's Federation Against Copyright Theft are claiming big results in a new government IP crime report. PIPCU say they have suspended 2,359 UK domains and cut off payment to 19 sites, with FACT claiming the closure of 117 pirate sites and the arrest of seven release group members in the past 12 months. In recent times the UK has become one of the most unfriendly countries in the world when it comes to operating a file-sharing site. Efforts by the movie industry and their local proxies have restricted opportunities, and the addition of government assistance sinc
  23. The UK Prime Minister's Intellectual Property Advisor is to step down at the next general election. Mike Weatherley has been front and center in promoting entertainment industry action against online piracy but will not stand for re-election in 2015. The former movie industry worker is already being touted for a return to the creative sector. In September 2013, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced the appointment of Mike Weatherley MP as his brand new advisor on intellectual property matters. As the founder of Parliament’s Rock the House competition and member of the All-Party Parliame
  24. Britain's electronic eavesdropping center GCHQ faces legal action from seven internet service providers who accuse it of illegally accessing "potentially millions of people's private communications," campaigners said Wednesday. The claim threatens fresh embarrassment for the British authorities after leaks by fugitive NSA worker Edward Snowden showed GCHQ was a key player in covert US surveillance operations globally. The complaint has been filed at a London court by ISPs Riseup and May First/People Link of the US, GreenNet of Britain, Greenhost of the Netherlands, Mango of Zimbabwe, Jinbonet
  25. A tweet sent by Cortana's program manager, Marcus Ash, reveals that inside of two weeks, a developer preview for Cortana will be available. Keep in mind that the only Windows Phone 8.1 users in the U.K. that will be able to see and use Cortana, will be those who registered as developers with Microsoft. For the rest of you, the personal assistant will be unavailable for now, unless a hack is devised, of course. Right now, only those in the U.S. with Windows Phone 8.1 are able to use Cortana. In his conversations on Twitter, program manager Ash said that while developing Cortana, Microsoft lea
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