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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 1:18am

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 1:27am

    At a time when it has been announced that our public borrowing has increased yet again.

    Massive budget deficit (trade deficit too) leading to more and more debt and we throw money at an agency looking out for one industry. You couldn't make this crap up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 1:29am

      Re:

      Sadly this is what happens when the government is not held accountable for anything.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 1:51am

      Re:

      What else did you expect? The industry's been dying, starving for over a bloody decade, even with Chris Dodd rich as hell after so much money thrown down its bottomless gullet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 2:05am

      Re:

      You couldn't make this crap up.

      Do not underestimate the legacy players. They are doing far more damage than copyright alone. We will remember many of them (ie: oil execs, pharma, the MAFIAA etc) as a cancer that screwed up many aspects of society and our world.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 1:32am

    UK is increasingly using China's arguments for censorship and surveillance. Has the UK government realized that maybe THEY don't want a democracy after all?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    spodula, 24 Oct 2014 @ 2:25am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 3:06am

      Re:

      not quite correct - territorial police constables have limited jurisdiction abroad and within the UK, and special police forces have limited jurisdiction outside of their speciality.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:18am

        Re: Re:

        As far as that goes that's correct, but the City of London police are not a Special police force, and when you say "Territorial" in the UK, the Territories are "England+wales","Scotland" and "Northern Ireland", and even then there are exceptions.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        observer, 27 Oct 2014 @ 3:20pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:18am

      Re: Dear Mike Masnick

      Basically:

      London Metro Police = NYPD.

      City of London Police = FBI.

      I agree its a shit, confusing name though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Captain DogPoo, 24 Oct 2014 @ 4:31am

    They may as well do stuff for the content industries as they never seem to charge and convict any of the bankers and money men in their square mile...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tim R (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:00am

    Predictable

    What do you honestly expect from a law enforcement operation that has a top officer named "Fyfe"? Barney's rolling over in his grave.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:16am

    It's simple: There's still so much out there the PIPCU hasn't censored yet. They need more money to completely censor the internet...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:23am

    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!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 6:09am

    if i remember correctly, the person in charge of this shambles was either an entertainment industries employee or a lobbyist. (perhaps someone can verify?) well out of order though to waste yet more tax payers money to try to do something for an industry that wants everything it's own way, but refuses to pay for any of it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 6:28am

    Government scratches their back, media distrubuters scratches propoganda's back......I can't be thr only one seing an insurgance of "hollywood" pro government narative propaganda, that's not just wrong, its jail worthy at best

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 6:43am

      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

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 10:09am

    Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright law is enforced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:43pm

      Re:

      You have been censored! Quick, fill my mouth with your sperm while antidirt pegs my ass. I want your advancement of culture in me!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Dave, 25 Oct 2014 @ 12:07pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dazancic, 24 Oct 2014 @ 3:26pm

    One would hope they have other things to focus on now, what with 3 million pounds lying atop them

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 3:32pm

    They're right...

    "if PIPCU isn't running around censoring sites there would be anarchy online. "

    You know what? he's right.

    Of course, even if they ARE, there is still a lack of respect for monarchs to be found online.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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