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ACS:Law could cop £500k fine as ‘porn list’ is exposed

by Sarah Griffiths on 28 September 2010, 11:42

Tags: General Business

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Revelations and tribulations

A bad week may have just got worse for ACS:Law as it is believed the firm could face a hefty fine after a list of thousands of Sky broadband customers who have allegedly shared porn online was leaked to the web by hackers.

The UK's Information Commissioner (ICO) told the BBC that the law firm, which hunts down copyright thieves, could be fined half a million pounds as it produced a seemingly unencrypted list containing the names and addresses of over 5,300 people who are alleged to have shared adult films on the net...and that list is now reportedly online for all to see on The Pirate Bay.

Already this week, the private emails of file sharing litigation specialists ACS:Law have been splashed all over the web after the firm's website was hacked, taken down by a 4chan DDoS attack, while the firm's owner, Andrew Crossley was targeted.

The ICO told the BBC that the firm now has some questions to answer about the security of the information it was holding.

"We'll be asking about the adequacy of encryption, the firewall, the training of staff and why that information was so public facing. The Information Commissioner has significant power to take action and I can levy fine of up to half a million pounds on companies that flout the [Data Protection Act]," the UK's Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham reportedly said.

Privacy experts have reportedly hailed the leak as one of the worst Data Protection Act breaches in recent years.

ACS:Law is already believed to be under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority over its ‘heavy handed' tactics in chasing suspected pirates and is under pressure as a BBC probe found a number of people were wrongly accused of illegal file sharing, indicating the firm's data is perhaps not completely accurate.

The unencrypted document is thought to contain a list of over 5,300 BSkyB Broadband subscribers and another list of porn films they might have illegally downloaded and shared online, although the allegations against the individuals have not been proved.

Crossley admitted to the BBC that there were ‘legal issues' surrounding this latest leak.

He reportedly said: "We were the subject of a criminal attack to our systems. The business has and remains intact and is continuing to trade. All our evidence does is identify an internet connection that has been utilised to share copyright work. In relation to the individual names, these are just the names and addresses of the account owner and we make no claims that they themselves were sharing the files."

Meanwhile Sky told the BBC it was ‘very concerned' about the situation and said it is investigating.



HEXUS Forums :: 22 Comments

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ahahahahaha serves them right
probably does serve them right. If they wish to play hardball (which in all accounts they seem to have done) then they risk letting themselves open to being attacked by some organisations.
They should be looking at jail time for fraud and blackmail.
I love technology. Stick your head above the parapet and someone will knock it off. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch, hope they burn. :clapping:
I don't see how this will stick. If their data was “secured” (albeit poorly) and someone went in and hacked their data and then published it, I don't see how this constitutes them publishing it. I understand that they have a duty of care, but if they show tht they took “reasonable” precautions then this surely wont stick…?