Well done BT, now ISPs have to ensure that methods of collecting evidence are tested

Congratulations to BT and Sky for opposing Norwich Pharmacal Orders following the ACS:Leaks.

It’s good news that they have learned from the massive data protection breach from ACS:Law and opposed further orders by Gallant Macmillan, as we and others advised.

We are also urging BT and Sky to make sure that the methods of collecting evidence are tested. Rightsholders will then have to disclose their methods before the court.

That will show if they are really that much different from the one’s ACS:Law’s used, as, for instance, the BPI claims. It will also protected customers from poor monitoring.

In the hearing between BT/Plusnet and Ministry of Sound at the High Court yesterday, BT said that it is seeking a moratorium on all applications for Norwich Pharmacal Orders which would force them to hand over its customers data of alleged copyright infringers.

That’s an important development, but what we really need is the ISPs to force the disclosure of the data collection methods. Similarly, in the DEA, Ofcom should also ensure transparency.

The hearing at the High Court was adjourned until 11 January at the request of BT who argued that it needed time to review the system put in place to store customer data before complying with a court order.

After the ACS:Law leak BT and other ISPs are becoming cautious. Data from over 500 Plusnet subscribers was revealed and BT could face charges over the violation of data protection laws, as data was sent unencrypted via email.

There has been great interest in the hearing and a number of ISPs sent their lawyers to observe. Clearly, ISPs are paying great attention and want to know exactly how secure the systems are. Asking for time seems the right approach.

Rightholders are getting ready for the letter writing regime of the Digital Economy Act and it is crucial that their systems are scrutinised.

We have asked Ofcom if they can guarantee that standards of evidence for the DEA are published.

Have you told your MP to ensure the standards of evidence for the Digital Economy Act are fully transparent?