British Police raided two locations this week, in a bid to halt the spread of Android TV boxes which are allegedly being used to illegally stream premium content.
A joint investigation, carried out by the Metropolitan and West Midlands Police forces and FACT, the UK’s intellectual property sentinels, has resulted in two arrests and the seizure of over 1,000 Android TV boxes, which could be used to stream premium sports and television channels, and other pieces of electronic equipment with ties to illicit streams.
The police raided two locations this week, one in Middlesex, which resulted in the arrest of a man and a woman, and one in Walsall, following which a man was voluntarily questioned by the local constabulary.
The raids aren’t the first time the long arm of the law has come down heavily on people involved in piracy. Since the establishment of the City of London’s PIPCU (Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit), which came off the back of close relations between the force and the BPI, a number of arrests have been made and thousands of piracy-related sites have been closed.
In some cases, arrests have resulted in serious prison time for those found guilty, such as in the case of Paul Hartrick, who was jailed for five years in 2012 for supplying people with imported cable boxes which were able to fully decode Virgin Media’s channels. Last year, a BBC investigation blew the lid on a south London-based operation that was selling ‘Sky TV’ boxes for £150 plus premium subscriptions for £10/month.
Recently, Amazon has opted to withdraw Kodi (formerly known as XBMC) from its app store. The open-source media player, while not illegal itself, lets you install plugins that let you access content you may or may not be legally entitled to watch.
As Kodi comes pre-installed in many cheap media streamers, some of which you can buy on Amazon, it’s becoming harder for security services to keep up the good fight.