First fine in Europe for IPTV users, free Internet television: could it happen in Spain?

The Italian State Police has reported a major action “against audiovisual piracy”. called ‘Operation Gotha’. As detailed on the official website of this organization, “numerous searches and seizures” have been carried out in 23 provinces of the country and 70 people have been arrested for “a criminal association of an international nature with the aim of broadcasting television programs with conditional access”. Is being investigated” .

These people, he adds,He will also have to answer for another series of crimes In form of Money launderingFraudulent transfer of property, identity theft, possession and fabrication of false identity documents, misuse of non-cash payment instruments and forgery”.

The operation itself hasn’t set off alarms in some media, but the way it’s done: The state police itself confirmed that the investigation was carried out “under the constant supervision of” Internet,

In his justification, he said that This type of surveillance was intended to “combat cybercrime” and has allowed “the discovery of the existence of an organized criminal association”. In a hierarchical way according to different and very specific roles (boss, assistant boss, boss, administrator, technician, reseller), whose manufacturers are located all over the country (Catania, Rome, Naples, Salerno and Trapani) and abroad in England, Germany were distributed. and Tunisia”.

The organization, the statement continues, specialized in “Distribution of live programming to a large number of users nationally and internationally And on-demand content protected by television rights owned by the most famous television platforms, through the illegal IPTV system.

As per reports, the network had 900,000 users -“70% of illegal national streaming” – and “only in the months of the investigation” the profits found are around 10 million euros, “but the damage to the audiovisual industry could exceed 30 million euros per month.”

fines for users

In Operation “Stopped illegal flow of IPTV to users” And during the raid “several computer equipment and illegal devices for connection and transmission activities were seized”. streaming,

In the note, the police emphasize that “The investigation at this stage affected only those who held senior management positions organization, as well as resellers of TV packages”, but he warned that “users of illegal services will be identified later”.

Looks like the ‘after’ situation is already here: According to TorrentFreak, the total 1,600 letters have been sent to various users who have been identified as IPTV channel subscribers, prosecuted by Italian law. The letter indicates a fine of 154 euros, or in case of a repetition of up to 1,032 euros. It is however possible to make an advance payment within 60 days, and reduce the fine to 51 and 344 euros, respectively.

Image of one of the fines for users of IPTV services.
Image of one of the fines for users of IPTV services.
torrent freak

Is the monitoring of users by the Italian police legal?

,The surveillance carried out by the Italian police is carried out within the legal framework indicated in that country”, confirms Antonio Ángel Cardador Rodriguez, partner of the firm Cardador y Marín Abogados, a firm dedicated to digital law and new technologies. And he emphasizes: “For this, each country establishes its own regulation and regulatory framework, with respect to the approving legislation.”

In this case, it is clarified that the information received by users registered in this IPTV infrastructure sanctioned through administrative means, not through judicial meansWhich is based on the ‘Leg di Dipanelizazione No. 689 dated 11/24/1981’, which provides in its Article 13:

[…] The bodies monitoring compliance with the provisions of non-compliance with the administrative approval of the payment of the amount of money, in order to verify violations of their competence, may collect information and proceed to the inspection of things and places for those private houses, surveying of signs, descriptive and photographic and any other technical operations […],

On the other hand, the expert continues, “The Italian Constitution does not explicitly include a right to data protection, but rather a right that no one can be punished on the basis of the law in force prior to the enactment of the Act.” “.”What is surprising in this case is not that they acted in accordance with the law, but that such a complex and structured police raid has been deployed despite small restrictions.”, says the lawyer.

Could the same thing happen in Italy that happened in Spain?

Regarding the possibility that users in Spain are fined for this type of behavior on the Internet, the experts assure and confirm that “something like this can hardly happen in spain if it is not accompanied by the intervention of a judicial authority, since such interference would affect the fundamental rights enshrined in the Spanish Constitution, inter alia, in Art. 18 EC which indicates the following: The law shall limit the use of information technology to guarantee the respect of citizens and the personal and family privacy and the full exercise of their rights.

However, it points out that there are precedents for judicial authorities, such as last August, where the Barcelona Mercantile Court No. 9 granted Movistar Plus and La Liga the right to block weekly IPTV broadcast content.

In these cases, all measures to be taken to protect the rights of Intellectual Property, This can be done either with remedies in the commercial jurisdiction or through criminal proceedings, which are usually more general for a specific case of activity.

Penal Code criminalises transmission of material subject to intellectual property rights through unauthorized IPTV platformsand specifically punishes both individuals and service providers in the information society that “with intent to obtain direct or indirect economic benefit, and to the detriment of a third party, actively and non-neutrally facilitate and complete technical treatment, access or placement on the Internet of works or services subject to intellectual property without the authorization of the respective rights holders or their assignees, including without limitation the offer of an ordered and classified list of links to the above works and material in particular, Even though the said links were initially provided by the recipients of their services”.

it can come Imprisonment for a term which may extend to six years, fine for a term which may extend to eighteen to thirty-six months, and special disqualification for the practice of the profession relating to the offense committed for a period of two to five years.

how the user was discovered

In comments to ilsole24ore, Gian Luca Berruti, head of investigations at the Guardia di Finanza, described the operation as “decisive” in the fight against cybercrime. Currently at Italy’s National Cyber ​​Security Agency, Berruti refers to “innovative investigative techniques” supported by “new technological tools”.

Last May, Italian police announced that thousands of users had subscribed to an IPTV service that was being monitored by authorities, without permission from copyright holders. When users tried to access its broadcast, a warning message appeared stating that they had already been tracked.

It was later that the fines started coming in the form of letters, where they explained how this surveillance and detection work could be done on a large scale: they “redirected all national connections to internet service”. providers” so that customers register through a purchase process on a server controlled by the police and configured to record their activity.

In this way, they tracked “in real time” all connections to “pirate sites”, interfered with police operations and passed that information through the payment system that was used to pay for ‘subscriptions’.

,We are facing a conflict between the intellectual property rights of the providers and the privacy of the users, As far as we know, the Italian authorities tracked user IPs extensively – whose data is controlled by internet operators, which are the ones that provide licensed IPTV – and cross-referenced them with data such as user payment methods . This type of tracking may violate users’ right to privacy, but ultimately it will be the courts that decide which right prevails”, comments María Cervino, Head of Technical Law and Startup Sector at Vento Abogados y Asesor.

Cervino is mentioned In Spain we had a precedent with the LaLiga app, which activated users’ phone’s geolocation and microphone to check whether they were watching games in bars that did not have a license. With this exercise, aepd (Spanish Agency for Data Protection) sanctioned LaLiga with 250,000 Euros and this sanction has been judicially confirmed by the National Court in May this year on the understanding that Users’ privacy was violated,

To watch series or movies it is necessary to open VLC media player.

Who’s behind the pirates’ network

According to recent estimates published on the TorrentFreak portal, 23% of the Italian population – approximately 11.7 million people – consume live television illegally.,

in the specific case of ‘Operation Gotha’, it is known that more than 500 IPTV channels and Telegram channels have been trackedOut of which more than 310 have been blocked. “The first investigation highlighted the presence of Wireon various social networks, on various bot sites, channels, groups, accounts, forums, blogs and profiles that advertise the sale in the national territory of access to illegal streaming of paid content via IPTV of the most famous platforms ”, said the state police.

They don’t specifically name any IPTV service, but a video released by this state authority appears to confirm that at least one of the targeted locations Consisted of banks of Sky decoders from which broadcasts were received, captured and re-transmitted to other places for subsequent distribution.

What is IPTV?

An IPTV – the acronym in English for Internet Protocol Television, i.e. Internet Protocol Television – is A platform that allows you to watch television channels on the Internet, it’s kind of streaming different from those used by popular platforms like netflix, amazon prime video hey HBOBut which is legally used in Spain by some operators like Movistar.

a) yes, Instead of receiving a television channel broadcast via antenna, satellite or cable, it comes to you streaming live or on demand via web, What IPTV does is create a private and direct network between the operator that provides you the channels and the user, so that you can receive these channels without having to connect to the internet. router Decoder turned on.

Channels are broadcast on demand, and the operator reserves part of your bandwidth for IPTV. However, there is another way to reach them: this is IPTV lists, which allow access to many of these channels without the need for an operator, This is where illegal retransmissions come in, in which an IPTV user is recoding and retransmitting the signal that reaches him.

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