UK homes blocked from free Sky TV as ‘strong message’ sent to streamers

Some homes may suddenly find their free Sky TV streams are no longer working after another major crackdown by UK authorities. The lastest block comes after one supplier of illegal Sky content has just been arrested and equipment used to distribute premium shows, movies and sporting action seized. The 42-year-old man from Nottingham was arrested under the Proceeds of Crime Act, Computer Misuse Act and the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. He has since been bailed whilst the investigation continues.

“This action sends out a strong message that we are homing in on those who knowingly commit or facilitate online copyright infringement,” said Detective Sergeant David Beach, of Nottinghamshire Police’s Cyber Crime Team.

“Not only is there an enormous loss to the entertainment industry with this particular operation but it is also unfair that millions of people work hard to afford their subscription-only TV services while others cheat the system.

“Some may think paying for illegal streaming devices and services is a victimless crime but that isn’t the case.”

And Matt Hibbert, Group Director of Anti-Piracy at Sky added: “We’d like to thank Nottinghamshire Police’s Cyber Crime Team for taking this strong action against illegal streaming operators.

“We will continue to support law enforcement to protect our content, tackle illegal streaming, and help keep consumers safe from the risks illegal streaming can pose.”

With the cost of living crisis continuing to hurt wallets more people are turning to cheaper – and sometimes free – ways of watching premium content.

So-called ‘dodgy’ Fire TV Sticks are often found online and are adapted to show premium content without big monthly costs. Most sellers simply ask for an upfront fee to be paid with the device then unlocking channels such as Sky Sports and Cinema.

Although this way of watching may appear enticing it’s highly illegal and that’s not the only thing users of so-called ‘dodgy Fire TV Sticks’ should be concerned about. UK police have recently issued another alert about the risks of using adapted streaming devices which include being exposed to viruses and malware.

“Illegal streaming is far from a victimless crime, and as well as the impact it has on businesses and content creators, it essentially means that legitimate subscribers pay for those who illegally access such services,” said Detective Inspector Steve Frame.

“Illegal streams also increase the risk of users receiving malware, which can put them at increased risk of falling victim to Computer Misuse Act offences.

“We will use all available powers and continue to work with FACT to identify anyone else who is involved in this form of criminality and put them before the courts.”

According to the new BeStreamWise service, there are numerous dangers if you watch content without permission.

When accessing illegal streams, whether through free streaming sites or via apps, add-ons or devices, you are at risk of receiving malicious software. This gives criminals access to your network or your device compromising your personal data.

Streaming via illegal methods puts you at risk of being exposed to fraud and data theft. This risk increases significantly when users exchange credit or debit card information to view content on unregulated and illicit websites.

Watching content via an illicit source can expose younger viewers to age-inappropriate content.

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