Consumer Watchdog slams O2 in advice to ISPs on protecting customer details

In a damning briefing Consumer Focus the Consumer Watchdog who represented O2 Customers accused of copyright infringement by Pornographers Golden Eye International/Ben Dover Productions(GEIL/BDP), have lashed the ISP as irresponsible towards those very customers.

The briefing is advice to ISPs who are targeted by “Copyright Trolls”, and how to balance the need for redress to those who believe their work has truly been infringed and the privacy of those they accuse.  It is well worth reading, and can be found here.

After the past debacles involving the law firms, Davenport Lyons, ACS:LAW, Tilly Bailey Irvine ended in fines, suspensions and regulatory settlement agreements, most people thought the “Speculative Invoicing” schemes, or the “Pay up or else” letters were a thing of the past.  With GEIL/BDP launching their attempt at an “Alternate revenue scheme” for their failing business, O2 should have stood in their way.  They didn’t.

Not only did O2 show complete disdain by capitulating to the pornographers at the expense of their customers, Consumer Focus highlights even more disgraceful behaviour on O2s part.

The High Court found the draft order and the draft letters to O2 customers which Golden Eye submitted as part of its application, and which O2 chose not to challenge, objectionable in a number of ways.

It is not feasible for a consumer watchdog to intervene in every single NorwichPharmacal order application, however we expect ISPs and online hosts to take responsibility for protecting their customers‟ rights. The draft order and draft letter before action proposed by Golden Eye were plainly problematic, yet O2 essentially only intervened to ensure that Golden Eye pays for the cost to O2 of matching the IP addresses with its customers‟ personal data.

O2‟s refusal to ensure that its customers‟ rights are respected appears particularly odd in the light of the fact that Telefónica de España acted to defend its customers‟ data protection rights in Productores de Musica v Telefonica, which related to an application for a disclosure order.

Particularly odd indeed, one wonders why O2 capitulated to Pornographers when they didn’t to the Music Producers.  So why didn’t O2 protect it’s customers against predatory businesses like GEIL/BDP?

Why did they ignore the obvious problems with GEIL/BDPs approach?

Why did they not even turn up for the hearing?

Why did they only insist on their OWN protection and not of that of their customers?

Why indeed have they hung so many of their customers out to dry and left them vulnerable to a failing Pornography business desperate for cash?

Maybe because it is easy to take their customers for granted, maybe they feel they are so stupid they will stay with them rather than move ISP, one thing is for sure, when their customers start receiving GEIL/BDP letters maybe they will realise to late when their reputation suffers as it surely will.

O2 CANNOT simply use the tired excuse of “We have to abide by the rulings of a UK Court”, THAT is NOT what happened here, O2 simply looked out for their OWN interests and betrayed their duty of care to their customers.

About Hickster

I am one of the many innocent people who have been accused of file sharing by Copyright Trolls, my letter came from the now infamous ACS:LAW, but they have now been emulated by many more using the same system. Their ruse is simple, Send out letters of claim with NO Real evidence beyond an IP address that they claim was captured using a frowned upon hack of Shareaza. My REAL opinion of these companies turned when they started sending out Pornography claims, THAT is what I find most disturbing. People who HAVE to pay up without the option of having their day in Court. THAT is NOT Justice. Why can't they just go to Court? because the Lawyers, pitch the price of paying the "Compensation" at about the same rate as hiring a lawyer to fight it. Things have changed in the last 8 years though. I would advise people to read the "Speculative Invoicing Handbook Part 2", research these people yourselves, and find me at Slyck Forums, or on Twitter. Do NOT Worry, Stand Strong
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5 Responses to Consumer Watchdog slams O2 in advice to ISPs on protecting customer details

  1. randalf7 says:

    Having contacted O2 on this matter I feel that O2 don’t regard it as any of their business what subscribers do or do not download.

    It is no more their responsibility than it is of Amec to be responsible for protecting drivers who speed down a road they built and maintain.

    I don’t agree with their position but I understand it.

    • Hickster says:

      O2 probably DON’T care what people download, but is that the point here? They have allowed a Pornographer to have access to O2 accounts details for as little £2.20 for each IP. If Golden Eye International had said to O2, “Will you oppose our Court application”, and O2 said “Yes we will”, then GEIL would NEVER have proceeded, which is why I am amazed after teh ACS:LAW debacle that they didn’t, I would be quite shocked if any other ISP would go along with GEIL.

      If I was a ciustomer of O2 I would leave them with immediate effect and go to another ISP. An ISP that would stand up for MY rights, against such people.

  2. randalf7 says:

    As an O2 customer I can assure you that just as soon as I can leave O2 I will be leaving them.

    Eight days to go.

  3. randalf7 says:

    I’d also mention that knowing GEIL would walk away if O2 had stood up to them is very much a decision based upon hindsight. At the time O2 would not have known what GEIL would have done. They took a business decision and I hope they lose enough custom to make them unlikely to repeat the decision.

    I also think that it will be interesting to see if GEIL go back to the other ISPs now and force the Norwich Pharmacal issue in the face of objections.

  4. jimbo says:

    I left 02 a month ago, I received a letter from them today saying I might get a letter from
    Golden-one-eye, cant believe it, im not gulity and I thought everyone already had their letters ages ago?

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