NAGRA claims further Operation 404 success
July 13, 2022
By Colin Mann
Content protection and multiscreen television solutions provider NAGRA continues to work with Latin American anti-piracy association Alianza, leveraging its anti-piracy capabilities to bring down criminal activity as part of Operation 404, an anti-piracy operation by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice with collaboration from a number of key industry players, including NAGRA, through the Alianza anti-piracy alliance.
Operation 404’s fourth phase of operation was launched in June 2022. The crime network targeted was set up to sell music, games, movies and TV shows illegally – achieved through the use of 461 apps and 266 pirated websites.
With 30 search and seizure warrants issued during the operation, NAGRA’s anti-piracy operations team were on the ground helping to coordinate, witness and capture the evidence.
The investigation also identified another 53 sites hosted in the UK and six in the US. All were blocked. In addition to the physical searches, for the first time, the operation also ventured into the metaverse as part of its investigation.
“The metaverse has barely begun and criminals are already using this environment to commit crimes,” notes Alessandro Barreto, coordinator of the Ministry of Justice’s CiberLab. They prepared events and within these events, in the metaverse, crimes against intellectual property were committed.
As a result of the fourth phase of Operation 404:
- 10 people were arrested and charged with the offence of copyright infringement.
- The investigation revealed that the applications and devices sold by the pirate also contained software to illicitly obtain sensitive data from customers.
- The next step of the investigation is to review the bank accounts of the suspects to see if the proceeds were used to finance other crimes.
“It’s through continued waves of Operation 404, supported by a coalition of key industry players and law enforcement agencies, that pirate operations are disrupted, and illegal operations halted,” states Pascal Métral, VP of Legal Affairs and Head of Anti-Piracy Intelligence, Investigations and Litigation, NAGRA.
NAGRA’s role in combatting piracy:
- NAGRA has supported law enforcement for this kind of operations for over two decades and has a worldwide reach for these types of operations.
- Not only does NAGRA have pirates prosecuted criminally, but it also goes after large pirate organisations civilly and seek indemnification, as NAGRA believes money compensations have a true deterrent effect for pirates.
- NAGRA’s anti-piracy team is composed of former law enforcement and intelligence specialists who speak the same language as law enforcement, as well as forensic experts well vested in handling evidence for purpose of litigation.
Operation 404 through the years:
- The first phase of the programme, carried out in 2019, featured more than 300 takedowns, including 210 illegal websites and 100 illegal applications.
- The second phase, which took place in 2020, resulted in a total of 25 judicial search and seizure warrants across ten Brazilian states, as well as 252 websites and 65 streaming applications, reaching more than 26 million users, being blocked or suspended.
- The third phase in 2021 addressed 334 pirate websites and 94 pirate streaming applications.