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The EU’s law enforcement agency Europol has shut down a criminal network specialising in the illegal distribution of internet protocol television (IPTV) technology.
Run by two internet service providers (ISPs) in Spain and Bulgaria, the network offered more than 1,000 TV channels to clients across Europe.
An investigation led by the Spanish police with the support of the Bulgarian authorities, Europol and EU agency Eurojust resulted in the arrest of eight suspects.
In a coordinated action, 12 searches were carried out simultaneously in Spain and Bulgaria, with investigators seizing the servers.
Europol supported the investigations by providing information exchange, operational coordination and support, and forensic expertise.
It also organised an operational meeting at its headquarters in The Hague and facilitated information exchange between law enforcement agencies and private sector partners.
On the day of the seizures, two experts from Europol’s IP crime coordinated coalition (IPC3) and two from its European cybercrime centre (EC3) were deployed to Spain and Bulgaria.
Operation Casper began when a representative from a broadcast rights owner filed a complaint against the owner of an ISP in Málaga, Spain, for illicitly distributing pay-TV channels to “thousands of clients in different EU countries”.
According to Europol, the investigations revealed that the ISP owner was the leader of a criminal network that operated on a European scale.
Investigators also discovered the existence of a second ISP in Silistra, Bulgaria, owned by the network, which was permanently connected to the ISP in Spain and provided coverage to other European countries.
“Operation Casper represents a great example of cross-border cooperation against intellectual property rights infringements,” said Europol.
internet service providers, ISPs, IPTV, Europol, Operation Casper, online copyright, criminal enforcement,