Wednesday 22 July 2015

Police Deleting Thousands Of Facebook Posts In 'Operation Jasper' Piracy Crackdown

Enforcement Officers Taken Down Facebook Listings on Suspected FB Sellers

According to National Trading Standards, Enforcement officers have raided 12 locations over the past few weeks and are still involved in another 22 on-going investigations aiming at criminals who have exploited social media channels in order to sell dangerous and counterfeit goods, committing copyright theft, which is the biggest attempt of its kind.

The officers have taken down around 4,300 Facebook listings together with 20 profiles, issuing over 200 warning letters and delivered 24 cases, with letters to the homes of those suspected Facebook sellers. Some of the dangerous or deadlygoods seized were Android TV boxes together with unsafe mains chargers as well as hundreds of counterfeit Cinderella dolls comprising of high level of toxic phthalates.

In Worcester, two residential properties also contained `a host’ of counterfeit packaged computers, mobile phones, tablets, tracksuits T-shirts and trainers according to Trading Standards. Nick Boles, business minister informed that the `counterfeit and piracy of trademarked and copyrighted materials could harm legitimate businesses, threatening jobs, causing real danger to consumers. Hence strong action was taken to stop these criminals through the Government’s funding of the National Trading Standard e-Crime Team.

Operation Jasper – Important Psychological Blow to Criminals 

Criminals do not tend to act alone and are regularly connected to serious organised crime group and bringing about this awareness was essential to consumers who buy fake products online and the risk faced by them. Lord Toby Harris, National Trading Standards chairman stated that `Jasper has struck an important psychological blow against criminals who believe that they can operate with impunity on social media platforms without getting caught.

 It shows we can track them down, enter their homes, seize their goods and computers and arrest and prosecute them, even if they are operating anonymously online’. Criminals who tend to operate on social media tend to become shameless since they think that operating from their living rooms with laptops, without the need of being physically present on market stalls, would mean that they are less likely in getting caught.Harris is pleased that the operation had been successful in proving that their misconception as wrong and urges consumers to be vigilant and report any suspected online rogue traders to the Citizens Advice consumers’ helpline on 03454040506.

Crackdown by Officers – England/Wales/Northern Ireland 

Operation Jasper operated by the National Trading Standards e-Crime team alongwith the National Markets Groups with members of BPI, Federation against Copyright Theft and the Alliance for Intellectual Property Theft, is manned by officers from the police and government agencies and is apparently one of the largest operations of its kind. It has been focusing on criminals who tend to exploit social media in committing copyright theft and then sell dangerous and counterfeit goods.

The enforcement officers carried out a crackdown all across England, Wales and Northern Ireland against those offering pirate and counterfeit product through Facebook. Due to this occurrence among citizens of the UK, Facebook accounts have increased and have become more than just a place to manage their social lives and for some it is a means of distributing infringing content which had been overlooked by the authorities.

As per the latest government IP Crime Report, social media had become the `channel of choice’ for online pirate activity and for several months in the past, most of the leading torrent sites had problems with their Facebook accounts. The Pirate Bay’s account was closed in December 2014, May and June 2015 and accounts of Extra Torrent as well as RARBG were suspended on grounds of copyright infringement.

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