back to article ISP ordered to drop 'three strikes' rule against pirates

The Irish data protection watchdog has ordered the country's largest internet service provider (ISP) to stop using its 'three strikes' system for identifying and warning alleged illegal file-sharers, according to media reports. The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland (ODPC) expressed concern that Eircom's …


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  1. Patrick O'Reilly


    The 3 strikes rule might be dead, but the record industry have sunk their claws into government and the Irish government is to legislate in the new year against downloaders.

  2. Yag

    Farewell HADOPI

    We'll miss you, your inefficiencies and your waste of taxpayer money...


  3. Tony Paulazzo

    The customer is always right.

    Gimp mask not fanboi - cause someone's getting fucked!

    1. Steve Renouf
      Thumb Up


      #Tony: "Gimp mask not fanboi - cause someone's getting fucked!"

      Yeah! The general public!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Filesharing Identification method has always been 'flawed'

    The methods used to identify filesharing freetards has always been totally flawed: Read this paper by the people who keep receiving "takedown" notices for their network laser printers...

    This document CLEARLY shows that Bit Torrent identification methods are completely unreliable and I cringe to think how many people have been fined or threatened with legal action because of this hideous reliance on tracker information.

    ACS:LAW revealed a list of Sky Subscribers. This list had thousands of users, however Sky were only able to "match" 40% of these to real people. This can only mean 2 things:

    1) Sky have extremely bad subscriber management practices and are breaking the law by not maintaining accurate records as required by the British Government.

    2) The IP address snatching tools that ACS:LAW were using were so poor that 60% of addresses 'harvested' by their shitty tools did not even match a real IP address.

    I would say, if I was writing the software for ACS:LAW if my software was not matching 100.0% of IP addresses (to real subscribers) on a trial run then the software was definitely not working and therefore absolutely cannot be used in court or for blackmailing people as they so did..

    Since ACS:LAW only matched 40% of their harvested list to real users I think this shows just how appalling the current method actually is and the whole practice should be banned outright until it can be demonstrated that it works 100%

    1. John I'm only dancing


      They couldn't catch the clap in Thai brothel. Regarding Sky subscribers, every time a user's router is restarted, they are assigned a new IP address.

      Considering the amount of Sky broadband users, they must have a very large pool of address to use. Finding out who was using a particular address at a given time is a near-impossible task.

      Still it didn't stop the sharks going after the innocent. Fortunately an end has been put to their very sharp practices. Goodbye ACS:POOR, you are a waste of oxygen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        IP Address

        "Considering the amount of Sky broadband users, they must have a very large pool of address to use. Finding out who was using a particular address at a given time"... is really, really simple if you keep the right data in an accessible format.

        The ISP assigns the IP address each time, and can easliy (and completely legally) log the number, user and time in a database. Checking is then a very simple query. The fact they appear unable to do this shows their records must be a bit of a shambles to be honest.

        Not disagreeing with your conclusions, just that in theory we (pirates) should be in a lot more trouble than we actually are. Thank you ISPs for having such crap systems!

      2. Danny 14


        "Finding out who was using a particular address at a given time is a near-impossible task."

        not really. I assume they log authentication attempts. I.e. reboot router, send auth, receive IP. At sky, receive auth request, get next IP and log the username vs IP address and server time. The next time that IP is released update the log with server time on release.


        The fact that sky server time might not correlate with ACS times is the killer. on borderline cases there may be an hours difference or more. Or (shock horror) the tracker might be seeded with fake IP addresses clogging the network.

  5. The BigYin

    Ah yes, Disney

    Remind me, how old is Mickey Mouse?

    Who keeps campaigning to extend copyright again and again and again and again and...?

    At some point people need to realise that their culture is being restricted and entrenched by corporates. There is not such thing as "intellectual property", that's just a PR buzzwords to collate disparate ideas (a bit like "the cloud" in that respect). It confuses the consumer, makes them fear legal action and erodes their rights.

    Copyright needs to be cut right back (a max of 20 years is more than reasonable if you ask me). We do not need our culture held hostage by inhuman corporates.

    Oh, and how do Irish pirates get an Internet connection? They must have some really cool undersea cable tech or satellite uplinks. Maybe they can help Cameron's broadband Britain scheme?

  6. Blarkon

    I love it how people pretend that no file sharing goes on whatsoever. What's even more hysterical is that there is now legislation going through congress to indefinitely detain people without charge - but the real thing that has geeks riled up is the thought that someone might stop them from downloading movies and actually pay for their entertainment.

    1. The BigYin


      You seem to be acting under the false assumption that downloading is somehow divested from paying. It isn't, it's just that the majors can't be bothered to provide the service that consumers want, or are only willing to do so at a price-point the consumers can't stomach; so some consumers look for an alternative/

      It doesn't have to e this was at all. Some of us download AND pay. Just not from the likes of Sony, EMI, WB or any other those idiots.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        completely agree

        prime example is ebooks. I refuse to pay more for an ebook than a paperback. If I can buy the kindle version for less than the paperback I am happy to do so. When its more, I just download a torrent and (sometimes) buy the paperback.

        For movies, I would gladly pay to download good quality avi files, but not as much as a DVD. A few quid per movie, sure. But I don't care about most films to pay more than 3 or 4 quid, so try to charge me 10 and I'll look elsewhere. And I don't want to stream cos my broadband connection isn't good enough. Let me pay on my terms and I will do so gladly. Try to wring too much out of me and you won't get a penny :-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC 21 Dec 15:23

          "I refuse to pay more for an ebook than a paperback."

          Why the hell do you think its worth that much. If its DRM'd (and many/most are these days), its resale value is zero, so buying the paperback would actually be better value.

          And this In an age of electronic documentation. Oh the irony.

    2. SDoradus

      This story has context

      For the specific case (the 2009 settlement of EMI vs Eircom) mentioned here, people seem to be ignoring the history. Can I draw your attention to the Register article about the Dublin High Court's review? One Andrew Orlowski was particularly scathing about riled-up 'freetards':


      "So the ruling rejects two key arguments made by critics of the UK's Digital Economy Act - that internet access is a 'fundamental human right', and that copyright enforcement infringes privacy. The ruling gives the go ahead light for a 'three strikes' policy in Ireland." It goes on to quote that judge in a way you would approve of:

      ' ... Charleton notes that [the internet] is, "thickly populated by fraudsters, pornographers of the worst kind and cranks... Among younger people, so much has the habit grown up of downloading copyright material from the internet that a claim of entitlement seems to have arisen to have what is not theirs for free"... Everyone won from this, he noted, "except for the creators of original copyright material who are utterly disregarded." '

      However the latest ruling from the DPC, backed by the EU, ditches that court's jurisprudence in no uncertain terms. Internet (and data) access is indeed a fundamental human right; copyright enforcement does infringe privacy laws; and the light for a 'three strikes' policy has just turned red.

      Be aware when reading Orlowski's original post that some paragraphs didn't make sense, for example: "The defendant had referred to Eircom as Eire's Data Protection Commissioner."

      This is probably an innocent mistake which should have been caught by a sub-editor. There was no actual defendant; the judge was ruling on the lawfulness of a private settlement between parties. He had to do this because someone had complained about the settlement to the DPC. The DPC did not appear before the judge - it was not required to, and indeed could not because it's own due process had yet to run its course.

      Now that process is done, the office of the DPC has in effect slapped El Reg, the copyright industry, the judge, and the Irish Government in the face. I await their respective reactions with eager anticipation.

      Personally I don't download files illegally, perhaps because I'm far too old - I'm not even remotely tempted by current tastes in music or movies, and I take my own photos.

      But perhaps I qualify as a 'freetard' because I do download large numbers of ISO images of things like the latest distribution of Fedora (before retiring I was an engineer and CCNA, and I maintain an interest in the tech). Also, I would tend to believe that where the marginal cost of production is essentially zero a rational society has no business prohibiting copy production; it's inefficient of resources, and criminalizes the population, thereby bringing the law into disrepute. Which is one reason "people" don't care whether "file sharing goes on".

  7. OrsonX

    Hurt Locker

    Well, that was enough to deter me (even trans-atlantically). I just don't fancy a knock on the door by the cyber-police (or lawyer-minions).

  8. LarsG


    The terms and conditions state that the ISP has the right to pass on your details to these vultures we all still have a fundamental right to privacy and freedom under the ECHR.

    The freedoms stand above everything. Passing you details on is a breach of your privacy, cutting off your internet or putting restrictions on what you can see or search for is a breach of freedom especially considering the importance on the internet in todays society.

    When will the class action against the vultures start because there is a case. Sue the record industry for curtailing your rights.

    Maybe a law firm will be brave enough.

    1. David 45

      Class action?

      I think I'm right (unfortunately) in saying that we UK dwellers do not have the right to sue in a class action and possibly other European countries are in the same boat. This seems to be an exclusively American thing........and WHY aren't we able to do it, I say?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution

    The ISP's should just tell the MPAA and the others, you think it is easy to control the downloading of illegal content, you figure it out. We will show you our network and you can design and implement any method you want to block the downloading of illegal content. It cannot hinder speeds, so it must work at wire speeds. Most importantly, it has to be 99.9999% effective in not blocking legitimate traffic.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Oh but they have "figured it out", and their solution is to lobby for laws that impose on ISPs to "sort it out".

  10. Adam Inistrator

    IP Address=Intellectual Property Address

    no doubt

  11. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    is it just me...

    ...or does this ruling actually say "It's illegal to identify the users from their IP address and warn them before blocking their internet connection" but it DOESN'T say "You can't block their access", so what we've lost is the "three strikes", but not the "you're out".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The IP address would appear to be the problematic part of the whole process, so in effect it is basically saying "you can't block their access" since without additional information - that may well equally invade privacy as much as IP addresses - there would be no identifiable customer to block to begin with.

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