Internet Pirates — no one is safe.
Singapore’s service providers have revealed that they have been given a High Court order to disclose the identities (names and addresses) of people who illegally downloaded the movie “Dallas Buyers Club”.
After several people over the last weekend were issued letters demanding payment of damages from illegal downloading, many raised concerns when M1, one of the local internet service providers (ISP) was stated as the source of some internet pirates’ identities.
M1 has since told local media that it had initially refused to cooperate, but had received an order from the High Court in January. In response to the order M1 had handed over information of the pirates.
“M1 did not provide personal data of the affected customers to Dallas Buyers Club LLC when it first requested for the information. Dallas Buyers Club LLC subsequently applied for a hearing at the High Court. After hearing the parties, the Assistant Registrar of the High Court granted an order compelling M1 to disclose the names, NRIC numbers and physical addresses of the affected customers.
M1 has accordingly complied with this order.”
Singtel also announced that they have been ordered the same court order, after appointing lawyers to help keep their customers’ information confidential. This is the full statement as reported by the Straits Times:
“In October 2014, Singnet received a letter from Dallas Buyers Club LLC’s lawyers, alleging that some of Singnet’s subscribers had illegally downloaded the film Dallas Buyers Club and requested that we provide the identities of some 150 plus of our subscribers. Singnet refused to provide them such information as we believed we had a duty to protect the confidential information of our customers.
“When the matter went before the courts, Singnet appointed external counsel to represent us. At court our lawyers highlighted our legal obligations to keep our customers’ information confidential and requested the court to consider if the evidence provided by the Dallas Buyers Club was sufficiently detailed and clear to support their claims of infringement for purposes of compelling Singnet to disclose our subscribers’ identities.
“Singnet has now been issued a formal court order which compels Singnet by law to disclose the identities of those subscribers. Singnet must provide the information to DBC LLC by the end of April 2015.”
StarHub, Singapore’s third provider, said that it was now in the process of complying with the court order.
“We have received a High Court order to provide details of some customers based on particular IP addresses, and are in the process of complying with this court order,” said Caitlin Fua, Assistant Vice-President of corporate communications at StarHub.
With the compliance of Singapore’s ISPs, we can probably expect many more lawsuits to appear in the months to come. We don’t have any information on whether the people who have received the letters have replied, but it seems that it could be a win for Dallas Buyers Club LLC, and a lose for internet pirates everywhere.
Anyone who have probably torrented at least one file in their lives should be worried if other companies will follow suit, because if local ISP’s can’t keep internet pirates’ information confidential, we might all be in trouble.