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A collaborative effort between the Dutch Police, the Public Prosecution Service, Dutch TV providers and media protection, revenue assurance specialist Irdeto, has seen a police raid of five homes in Apeldoorn, Enschede, Vlagtwedde and the Hague arresting several people suspected of operating illegal control word sharing piracy networks.
In 2012, the Dutch Police received several tips from the largest television operators in the Netherlands and Irdeto. Extensive investigations were conducted, which culminated in the raids. The raids are part of a larger effort by all parties to take a leadership role in fighting TV piracy in the country.
“It is our intent for these raids to send a strong message that this type of TV piracy is illegal and will not be tolerated in The Netherlands,” said Ger Laning of the Dutch Police. “Piracy is a serious threat to pay media companies worldwide and to our local Dutch TV providers. We saw a unique opportunity to work with technology and anti-piracy experts like Irdeto to disrupt pirate activity. In the future, the Dutch Police will explore further actions against this form of cybercrime, which results in a revenue loss for Dutch pay TV operators.”
In 2011, after an increasing number of advertisements for pirate TV card-sharing subscriptions appeared on auction websites in the Netherlands, Irdeto and local Dutch TV providers commenced investigations into several suspects offering control word sharing equipment and illegal pirate subscriptions for sale. While broadcasters and pay media operators are the most visible victims of piracy, consumers are mostly unaware that profits made from piracy can often be linked to organised crimes such as drug trafficking, money laundering and tax evasion.
In 2012, Irdeto and the local TV providers jointly referred several cases to the Dutch Police with supporting evidence. Ongoing investigations revealed that the control word sharing networks in question were also providing unauthorised pirated access to international pay TV channels provided by operators like M7 Group, who then joined as complainants to the Dutch Police. With the raids now executed, all the evidence from the raids will be analysed and The Public Prosecution Service will make a determination regarding any further criminal charges which may be filed in the coming months.
“The impact of piracy can be reduced, and Irdeto and its partners have taken the important first steps in a campaign to combat this illegal activity,” said Sheila Cassells, Executive Director of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA). “Many individuals feel that all content should be free, and may not fully understand how piracy affects a business. That’s why AAPA and its members are working hard to address the theft of TV services. Actions such as these send a clear message to consumers that piracy is wrong and there are better, more compelling alternatives.”
Card sharing piracy poses a major threat to pay TV operators and broadcasters and occurs when a pirate steals and retransmits a regularly changing control word that is passed between a smart card and a set-top-box, allowing subscribers to watch TV content they have not legitimately paid for.
The comprehensive evidence packages regarding these illegal control word sharing networks were largely prepared by Irdeto, a technology and subject matter expert in anti-piracy with a string of successful investigations and prosecutions with operators such as MultiChoice Africa, UPC DTH, M7 Group and FOXTEL.
“Irdeto remains dedicated to identifying and countering organized criminal enterprises who wish to circumvent our customers’ security measures and financially profit from pirated content,” said Rob Van Nunen, Senior Security Director for Irdeto. “Understanding where piracy is occurring – and actively taking measures to stop it – is pivotal to successfully growing revenues and protecting the pay TV business model. We do this by working closely with local law enforcement like the Dutch Police and through our advanced, sophisticated network of technical and anti-piracy experts. It’s a discover, disrupt and discredit approach that we’ve seen growing success with over the past several years.”