Isolating an IP address

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More out of curiosity than anything else I was reading in the papers about people being prosecuted for using music P to P fileshareing systmes - Kazaa etc to swap music (illegally) and was wondering about the 'nuts and bolts' of how the downloader was isolated. Surely the prosecutor must appraoch the ISP at some point to isolate the users IP adress - but surely this is a breach of data protection etc?
ASKED: March 6, 2005  5:05 AM
UPDATED: March 28, 2005  9:17 AM

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It depends on legislation of country where the prosecuted lives in and on some more detailed description of how the law enforcement find out about P2P download. Let’s say they found
out about this during legal house search, then prosecution is legal in most countries. If they found out about P2P downloading form ISP, then, just maybe, ISP put a report to law enforcement. I seriously doubt, that anywhere law enforcement may legally control trafic on ISP servers.

Just my opinion…

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  • FMMonty
    On the whole they aren't prosecuting individual downloaders, rather those who host large numbers of records and allow others to download them. It is a simple matter to obtain the IP address of a person to whom you upload a file, or who allows you to download a file, but your post seems to refer to the data protection act, so lets see about a UK perspective. From knowing the IP address they contact the ISP who controls that IP address and they request the users details. At that point they can prosecute. The UK data protection act does not protect criminals from having their data shared for the purpose of law enforcement, and nor does the act of any other country I am aware of. UK Data Protection Act, 1998: 29. - (1) Personal data processed for any of the following purposes- (a) the prevention or detection of crime, (b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders, or (c) the assessment or collection of any tax or duty or of any imposition of a similar nature, are exempt from the first data protection principle (except to the extent to which it requires compliance with the conditions in Schedules 2 and 3) and section 7 in any case to the extent to which the application of those provisions to the data would be likely to prejudice any of the matters mentioned in this subsection. Since schedule 2 specifically allows justice processing, schedule three allows processing against your consent if the vital interests of another are threatened (those being robbed by illegal downloads) then it is easy to give your data out to allow your prosecution. Also this data can be shared with other countries to allow your prosecution there, as long as they have the same level of safeguards on information processing.
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