City Of London Police Fail And Censor Their Way To A Lot More UK Taxpayer Money

from the censor-your-way-to-the-top dept

We’ve written plenty about the City of London Police and its Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), which despite an official jurisdiction covering a square mile of London, has made it clear that it considers itself Hollywood’s private police force worldwide when it comes to stopping copyright infringement online. PIPCU has basically been a bumbling, censoring mess from the beginning. A year ago, it started ordering domain registrars to kill off websites with no court order and no legal basis — demands that actually violated ICANN’s policies. For registrars that ignored those baseless, bogus censorship demands, PIPCU started sending ridiculous threats claiming that they were engaged in criminal behavior. Of course, PIPCU’s understanding of both the internet and “criminal” laws is suspect. The head of the unit, Adrian Leppard, claims that “the Tor” is “90% of the internet” and “is a risk to society.” Another top officer, Andy Fyfe, somehow believes that if PIPCU isn’t running around censoring sites there would be anarchy online.

Of course, it’s not just crazy statements and bogus threats. PIPCU is actually causing real damage. It has built a secret pirate blacklist over which there is no transparency, no due process and no appeal. On some of those sites, it is injecting advertisements that are mockably ridiculous (though the injections are potentially illegal in their own right). Much more troubling is that PIPCU has been completely shutting down websites and privacy services with no legal basis at all. And, when they did actually arrest someone — claiming “industrial scale” infringement — the eventual details were so weak that the case was completely dropped in a matter of weeks.

Given the Keystone e-Cops nature of the City of London Police’s PIPCU, you’d think that, maybe, just maybe, it would be time to disband PIPCU and let the City of London Police get back to protecting London’s banks (its other main pasttime). Instead, the UK government has just given PIPCU a raise, dumping £3 million of UK taxpayer money into the group to continue its bumbling, censoring, technologically clueless ways. While I’m sure this makes some increasingly obsolete gatekeepers happy, it’s hard to see how this helps content creators or the public in any way at all.

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Comments on “City Of London Police Fail And Censor Their Way To A Lot More UK Taxpayer Money”

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25 Comments
spodula says:

Dear Mike Masnick

the City of London’s Police’s (And any UK police) Jurisdiction covers the WHOLE OF THE UK!

There just BASED in the square mile.

The UK isn’t the US, with all its jurisdictional ridiculousness.

Which doesn’t make the rest of your article any less valid, but by putting that badly researched rubbish at the top, it makes the rest of it look more suspect. Especially as this has been pointed out before.

observer says:

Re: Re: Re:

And in practice there are large parts of the country that have major reservations about London police marching into town and throwing their weight around, for very well-founded historical reasons. Combine that with the growing antipathy towards the centralisation of power in the UK (of which this is just a symptom) and corresponding rise in pro-devolution sentiment, and it makes things very interesting indeed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Cameron is obsessed with doing whatever Obama wants! he flails around like a fish out of water, making wild claims and wild accusations, while trying to back Obama, who in turn, is trying to do what his backers want. funny how there is much less being stopped and investigated in the USA than in the UK, but i guess that goes to show that despite his need to satisfy Hollywood etc, Obama is using some sense. Cameron seems to have less sense than a rocking horse and wont be content until he has turned the UK into an image of China and made every internet user a criminal. oh, and dont forget the part about turning internet businesses away, going to countries that have a bit more sense and tolerance!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Plus the re-appeal of the law in america banning propaganda towards american people recently, coincidental, how the fuck would I know, no will ever investigate such possibility just because of the implication, never mind making sure that this fucked up thing is actually going. As it was with the spying, and as it is with this scenario, I would not be surprised……hell we have one guy advising uk priminister cameron in the open that we should bring in a curiculum for the kids “while their minds are young and impressionable” qbout the heinous crime of sharing 1’s and 0’s….i.e. correctional facilities

Dave says:

Re: Re:

Oh dear. Is this OOTB starting his/her old tricks again? Just how many times must it be said? There is such a thing as a court of law in which (I’m led to believe) things are said and decisions made as to what is or isn’t legal in the land. Until that moment (which I also believe is termed “due process”), nobody – but NOBODY – has any authority to instruct anyone to take down websites or do what the City of London Police appear to be up to on mere suspicion alone. It seems to me that they are, in fact, operating outside the law and making it up as they go along and need to be reined in by a few law suits.

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