Why Are UK Police Allowing Entertainment Industry Employees To Arrest And Interrogate People With Their Help?
from the incredible dept
We’ve discussed in the past the oddity of how a UK anti-piracy group, FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), which is a private organization set up and controlled by large entertainment industry players, being deeply involved in criminal investigations and cases against individuals. In the case against Surfthechannel, FACT was directly involved in seizing and keeping the computers involved and then in paying the police for the prosecution. Even if you can reasonably argue that they should be involved in helping with providing information for the investigation, you’d think most people would agree that that’s where the industry’s involvement should end. They shouldn’t be present on raids. They shouldn’t get to touch or keep the evidence. And they certainly shouldn’t be financing and pressing the criminal case.
But, apparently, the industry’s control over law enforcement in the UK continues. TorrentFreak reports on how FACT teamed up with local police to send five police cars to house to arrest a guy and seize his electronic equipment with FACT employees, because FACT claimed the guy had filmed a movie and uploaded it. Apparently, the person they were actually looking for no longer lived at the address, but it didn’t stop police from taking the guy to the police station where he was interrogated mainly by FACT employees with the police just sitting back and taking notes.
“At the police station I was interviewed by the police together with FACT (Federation Against Copyright and Theft). During questioning they asked me about Fast and Furious 6, where I obtained a copy from and if I was the one who went and recorded it at the cinema.”
Despite police involvement, as in previous cases it appears they were only present in order to gain access to the victim’s property, sit on the sidelines taking notes, and for their powers when it comes to presenting crimes for prosecution.
“I was detained for 3 hrs 12 minutes, out of that I was questioned for approximately 40 minutes. One police officer and two FACT officers conducted the interview. The police officer sat back and let FACT do all the questioning, so FACT were running the show,” the man reports.
As for what charges were used to arrest the guy? The vaguely ridiculous: “Miscellaneous Offense.” When the guy questioned the police, they said they “could not find the relevant charge.” Wow.
In the meantime, the guy has been released on bail and told that he’s not allowed to enter any movie theater in England or Wales “while the investigation is being carried out.”
No matter which side of the debate you’re on, I’d hope you can recognize how utterly insane it is to allow private parties to effectively run a criminal investigation like this.