AFTER TURNING OVER shedloads of its customers' personal data to the so-called 'anti-piracy' law firm ACS:Law, ISP Sky has pulled the plug on co-operating with the outfit.
In a press release Sky said it has "suspended all co-operation" with ACS:Law after thousands of its customers' personal details appeared on a list of people accused of illegally sharing adult films online.
More than 4,000 people who had signed a contract with Sky turned out to have all their details, including lists of porn movies they were supposed to have stolen, turned over to ACS:Law.
ACS:Law planned to send each of them a letter saying that if they did not part with some cash, it would take them to court and reveal all of their porn collection details.
The extent of Sky's co-operation with the outfit was not revealed until ACS:Law's website provided visitors with complete back-ups of all its email accounts.
The law firm could be fined up to £500,000 if the Information Commissioner' Office (ICO) finds it failed to take appropriate steps to keep the information secure.
A Sky spokesman said it was "very concerned" at the apparent loss of data and "by the actions of those who have sought to publicise the identities of individual customers".
The question is then why did it ever agree to help ACS:Law in the first place?
"Like other broadband providers, Sky can be required to disclose information about customers whose accounts are alleged to have been used for illegal downloading," the spokesman said.
"We support the principle that copyright material should be protected and we co-operate with court orders requiring disclosure."
But, surely if a court order had been granted to provide all the details of 4,000 of its customers, then Sky could not withdraw from the scheme now, or else it would face contempt of court charges. If ACS:Law had a court order then Sky will have to continue to hand over the information.
Of course if it was just giving over data to ACS:Law on a nod, with no court order, then Sky could find itself in the same hot water as the law firm. But an ISP would never do that.
But just in case we hope that Sky will publish the court order ACS:Law was awarded. µ
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