Anti-piracy campaigns honoured
October 19, 2020
By Colin Mann
The Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA) has announced the 2020 awards given to an individual or team from the public sector for a successful initiative to tackle audiovisual piracy.
The joint winners are the team led by Public Prosecutor Dott.ssa Valeria Sico, Sos. Proc. della Procura della Repubblica di Napoli, The Italian Judicial Authority, and the Guardia de Finanza team led by Ten. Col. t.ST Gian Luca Berruti, Nucleo Speciale Tutela Privacy e Frodi Tecnologiche for the Black IPTV/ XTream Codes operations.
According to AAPA, the case had an unprecedented impact on audiovisual piracy. Its operations and impact extended far beyond Italy and affected more than 50 million piracy users globally. Following the operations, a 50 per cent drop in illicit streaming traffic worldwide was reported by independent third-party analysts. The seizure of the most important illicit IPTV middleware, XTream Codes, at that time in use by more than the 90 per cent of pirates worldwide, required great technical expertise which was put in place by law enforcement units in charge of the investigations.
AAPA also presented two commendations. One commendation was awarded to the Eurojust team, led by Filippo Spiezia, the National Member for Italy and the Vice-President of Eurojust. Spiezia’s team co-ordinated the Black IPTV operations which involved multiple agencies in six countries.
The other commendation was awarded to The Bulgarian Cybercrime Department from the General Directorate Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Interior and the team led by Mihail Dragodanov. The Bulgarian Cybercrime Department carried out the operation TV PIRATES against five cable operators in Bulgaria who were illegally intercepting and distributing more than 60 premium TV channels (both foreign and Bulgarian), without the consent of the rights–holders. The financial damage was estimated to be more than 10 million Bulgarian leva (approximately €5 million). More than 700,000 subscribers were receiving the illegal broadcast signal from the criminal network. On request from Europol, AAPA provided operational support to the Cybercrime Department in two raids in Bulgaria.
“AAPA believes it is important to acknowledge the commitment of law enforcement agents and others in the public sector to fighting audiovisual piracy,” stated Sheila Cassells, Executive Vice President of AAPA. “These awards demonstrate that law enforcement and agencies have the expertise and willingness to tackle complex, transnational organised crime cases which involve many of the characteristics of cybercrime.”
“It is encouraging to see that more and more countries are actively involved in anti-piracy operations,” added Mark Mulready, Co-President of AAPA and Vice President Cyber Services at Irdeto. “AAPA hopes that the growing number of successful operations will persuade other countries to rise to the challenge. We are ready to support these efforts through training and operational support.”