Openload is a notorious pirate service – listed on the European Commission’s piracy and counterfeiting watch list. An investigation revealed that Openload operated within the European Union using infrastructure and hosting services provided by EU companies.
A court ordered the European hosting company to identify customer details for Openload, but it turned out that the listed customer was a defunct shell entity. The hosting provider admitted the customer data they hold is “purely declarative” and that it had no way of tracing or authenticating the identity of Openload. This is despite the hosting company having received more than €19 Million in fees paid through a PayPal account linked to a Costa Rican advertising agency and various untraceable credit cards.
Domains of Danger: How Website Speculators and Registrars Trade Internet Safety for Profit
Following reports of increasing fraud related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Digital Citizens Alliance conducted a three-month investigation that found that “little to no effort” is made to police domains whose sole purpose would be to scam, endanger those most vulnerable, or entice those seeking dangerous drugs. During this investigation, the DCA found it easy to register domains such as “coronavaccinefree.com” and was even encouraged to bid on domains such as “coronavaccine.com”.
The report outlines how the domain name industry frequently puts profits over consumer safety and describes an industry that bases its dealings on what it can, rather than what it should do to foster a healthy internet. Furthermore, the report shines a light on the lack of due diligence conducted by a number of these companies with respect to their commercial customers – and how that indifference could have real world consequences for consumers.
Read more here.
Moonwalk was considered one of the largest content sources for a significant number of infringing streaming sites. The Moonwalk network particularly focused on serving the majority of the largest Russian piracy sites, attracting millions of end-users. ACE, together with BREIN, conducted an investigation that revealed the technical infrastructure, based in the Netherlands. BREIN and ACE obtained an injunction against the Dutch hosts which resulted in taking down the Moonwalk service. In order to effectively take action against the operators, BREIN also obtained a court order allowing BREIN to seize the necessary information to identify the responsible people behind Moonwalk in the administration of the three Dutch hosting providers. Subsequently, the hosts voluntarily provided identifying information which proved either false or not traceable. For example, the data led to people in Russia and Ukraine who clearly lacked the technical skills for such an operation.
The court case regarding the received information continues in the Netherlands: effective piracy operations are undermined by the fact that some hosting providers currently do not verify their customer data and/or do not require that their (mostly foreign-based) resellers keep verified data. It is important that hosting providers adapt their business practices, general terms and conditions and administration in such a way, to ensure that customer information is verified, authenticated and available at all times.
For more information read here.