PIPCU Infringing Website List

Ian Watters made this Freedom of Information request to City of London Police

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear City of London Police,

A spokesperson of yours has declined to release the contents of the PIPCU Infringing Website List:

“All sites on IWL are identified and evidenced as infringing by rights holders and then verified by PIPCU. We are not making the IWL public. The List will be ever changing as new sites appear and older sites comply.”

My request is different:

What websites have been removed from the IWL?

In response to an FOI request on 6th June 2013, you refused to release details of a similar investigation on the grounds that:

"This would enable individuals to visit the site highlighted and unlawfully download copyright material and increase the scale of the loss. In the event that information was not held and the company was in involved in Fraud, denial would enable the company to continue its behaviour in the knowledge that no Police action was imminent."

The list of websites that have been removed from the new list cannot fall under those reasons:

* By reason of being removed, you must have decided that they are not in fact allowing visitors to download copyright information, and

* They either know that they have been investigated and have "complied" as requested or there was no need to contact them as their presence on the list was wrong from the start.

The successes of the list, if any, is something you should be proud of and not keep secret. To track these successes, this request will be repeated at regular intervals.

Yours faithfully,

Ian Watters

Abba Zakiyya,

Good Morning

Please accept this email as an acknowledgment receipt that we have received your request and will be in touch in due course.

In the meantime should you need to contact us please quote your ref no: COL/14/281

Kind regards,

Zak

Zakiyya Abba
Information Access Officer
Intelligence and Information Directorate
City of London Police | 182 Bishopsgate | London EC2M 4NP
T: +44 20 7601 2272| F: +44 20 7601 2088
Email: [email address]

REMEMBER!
• You are personally accountable and responsible for all information entrusted in your care.
• You should ensure it receives the appropriate protection and only share information with those who have a legitimate need to see it.

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Abba Zakiyya,

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Watters,

 

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION REF:  COL/14/281

 

I write in connection with your request for information dated 3^rd April
2014 in which you seek access to the following information:

A spokesperson of yours has declined to release the contents of the PIPCU
Infringing Website List:

 

“All sites on IWL are identified and evidenced as infringing by rights
holders and then verified by PIPCU. We are not making the IWL public. The
List will be ever changing as new sites appear and older sites comply.”

 

My request is different:

 

Q1. What websites have been removed from the IWL?

 

I confirm that information relating to questions 1 is held by the City of
London Police.

 

It is our decision that this information is subject to an exemption in
accordance with Section 30 of the Freedom of Information Act –
Investigations.

 

Information is exempt by virtue of section 30 where it has, at any time,
been held for the purpose of an investigation.  This is a class-based
exemption and it is not necessary to demonstrate the potential for harm to
occur.  It is however a qualified exemption subject to an assessment of
the public interest and the factors favouring disclosure and
non-disclosure are listed below.

 

Assessment of the public interest

 

Factors favouring disclosure

Disclosure would allow the public to assess the scale of the fraud, the
effectiveness of the investigation and allow individuals to make more
informed choices in respect of any dealings they may have with the
identified companies.

 

Factors favouring non-disclosure

This is an ongoing investigation and disclosure to the public domain would
raise the profile of those sites that have unlawfully provided copyright
material.  This would enable those involved in copyright crime to assess
which organisations have cooperated with the investigation and move
operations elsewhere.  Such identification could also increase the risk of
harm to those organisations by way of cyber attack or other means.

 

Balancing the Public Interest

Whilst disclosure would raise awareness of copyright fraud activity in
relation to specific organisations, we believe that the benefit is
outweighed by the harm that would result to this and future
investigations.  It is therefore our view that the public interest does
not favour disclosure at this time.

 

Should you have any further questions regarding your request, please
contact me via e-mail, letter or telephone, quoting the reference number
above.

 

 

Kind regards,

 

Zak

 

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Dear City of London Police,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of City of London Police's handling of my FOI request 'PIPCU Infringing Website List'.

I agree absolutely that "Disclosure would allow the public to assess the scale of the fraud, the effectiveness of the investigation and allow individuals to make more informed choices in respect of any dealings they may have with the identified companies."

The reasons given for favouring non-disclosure fail to acknowledge that any sites which cooperate with the investigation will already be known to those involved in copyright offences - they will have stopped accepting their business for long enough to be removed from the list!

Equally, if the sites were going to be attacked for cooperating, it would be happening regardless of disclosure, because the people most affected already know about it.

On the other hand, if it were known more widely, such sites will be freed from the risk of cyber attack by a variety of means (such as removal of their domain registrations) from those seeking to end copyright infringements. The City of London Police is aware that this happens, not least because it acknowledges that it has done it itself, and it knows that it is not the only one doing it.

Similarly, increasing the public profile of sites that have stopped infringing copyright as a result of the City of London Police's action cannot be said to be against the public interest. The force has not been shy about promoting the effectiveness of their investigations in the past, including saying that others engaged in the same activities should take note of them.

Already this month, it has named a chain of launderettes stopped from engaging in insurance fraud, and a golfer engaged in a different insurance fraud. The press releases include phrases like "this case highlights that these types of crime will be uncovered, resulting not only in a court sentence but a damaged reputation."

Another recent City of London Police press release gives the number of websites said to have been suspended in the past eight months as a result of PIPCU's actions and I would also consider accepting an answer that simply said how many websites had been removed from the Infringing Website List.

By not naming any of them, it would clearly be impossible to raise the profile of any sites that have allegedly unlawfully provided copyright material, or enable anyone to assess which organisations have cooperated, or put such organisations under any risk of harm.

It would, on the other hand, allow the public to assess the scale of the fraud and the effectiveness of the investigation, both of which are rightly agreed to be desirable and which have been actively promoted in the other ongoing investigation by giving out the equivalent number.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

Yours faithfully,

Ian Watters

Adekoya Pauline,

Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Waters,

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION REF:  COL/14/361
 
I write in connection with your request for an Internal Review dated 7 May 2014, which was received by the Information Access Office on8 May 2014. 

The Internal Review will be conducted by a senior officer who took no part in the original decision making process.  We aim to complete the review and advise you of the result in writing, within 20 working days. 
 
Should you have any further questions regarding your request, please contact me via email, letter or telephone, quoting the reference number above.
 
Yours sincerely

Pauline Adekoya
Access Information Officer

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Dear Pauline Adekoya,

On the 8th May, you said:

"We aim to complete the review and advise you of the result in writing, within 20 working days."

It's been rather longer than that - what is the delay?

Yours sincerely,

Ian Watters

Adekoya Pauline,

Thank you for your email.

 

I no longer work within the department.  If your enquiry relates to FOI or
DPA requests, please can you direct your email to Katy Grunblat to
assist.  See details below:

 

Tel Direct: 02076012287

Email: [1][email address]

 

Reagrds

Pauline Adekoya

 

 

Please consider the environment before printing my email

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References

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1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.cityoflondon.police.uk/

Dear City of London Police,

On the 8th May, in response to my internal review request, someone who was then an Access Information Officer wrote:

"We aim to complete the review and advise you of the result in writing, within 20 working days."

It's been rather longer than that - what is the delay?

Yours faithfully,

Ian Watters

Adekoya Pauline,

Good Morning,

I'm sorry for the delay with the reply, but I no longer work in this department. However, I have forwarded your email onto the team concerned.

For further updates please contact Katy Grunblat, email: [email address]

Regards
Pauline Adekoya

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This email has been classified as NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Watters

I have reviewed the reply to your request and am satisfied that the exemption contained in Section 30 of the Freedom of Information Act is engaged because the information requested was collected for the purpose of an investigation as defined by the Freedom of Information Act. However, the Section 30 exemption requires an assessment of the public interest; I have noted your comments favouring disclosure, but in order to undertake an accurate assessment, I need to consult the information owner. I anticipate that this work will be completed in the next 5 days when I will provide a substantive response.

Please accept my apologies for the delay, which has been caused by excessive workload.

Yours sincerely,

Dave Lockyear
Information Access Manager

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Dear City of London Police,

About 80 days ago, Dave Lockyear (Information Access Manager) said:

"I need to consult the information owner. I anticipate that this work will be completed in the next 5 days when I will provide a substantive response."

I have not heard anything from you since, and would like to remind you that my original request for review was made on the 7th May, four and a half months ago.

How much longer do you anticipate taking?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

Yours faithfully,

Ian Watters

Lockyear David,

2 Attachments

This email has been classified as NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Watters

 

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION REF:  COL/14/361

 

I write in connection with your request dated 7 May 2014 for an Internal
Review of request COL/14/281:

 

I am writing to request an internal review of City of London Police's
handling of my FOI request 'PIPCU Infringing Website List'.

 

I agree absolutely that "Disclosure would allow the public to assess the
scale of the fraud, the effectiveness of the investigation and allow
individuals to make more informed choices in respect of any dealings they
may have with the identified companies."

 

The reasons given for favouring non-disclosure fail to acknowledge that
any sites which cooperate with the investigation will already be known to
those involved in copyright offences - they will have stopped accepting
their business for long enough to be removed from the list!

 

Equally, if the sites were going to be attacked for cooperating, it would
be happening regardless of disclosure, because the people most affected
already know about it.

 

On the other hand, if it were known more widely, such sites will be freed
from the risk of cyber attack by a variety of means (such as removal of
their domain registrations) from those seeking to end copyright
infringements. The City of London Police is aware that this happens, not
least because it acknowledges that it has done it itself, and it knows
that it is not the only one doing it.

 

Similarly, increasing the public profile of sites that have stopped
infringing copyright as a result of the City of London Police's action
cannot be said to be against the public interest. The force has not been
shy about promoting the effectiveness of their investigations in the past,
including saying that others engaged in the same activities should take
note of them.

 

Already this month, it has named a chain of launderettes stopped from
engaging in insurance fraud, and a golfer engaged in a different insurance
fraud. The press releases include phrases like "this case highlights that
these types of crime will be uncovered, resulting not only in a court
sentence but a damaged reputation."

 

Another recent City of London Police press release gives the number of
websites said to have been suspended in the past eight months as a result
of PIPCU's actions and I would also consider accepting an answer that
simply said how many websites had been removed from the Infringing Website
List.

 

By not naming any of them, it would clearly be impossible to raise the
profile of any sites that have allegedly unlawfully provided copyright
material, or enable anyone to assess which organisations have cooperated,
or put such organisations under any risk of harm.

 

It would, on the other hand, allow the public to assess the scale of the
fraud and the effectiveness of the investigation, both of which are
rightly agreed to be desirable and which have been actively promoted in
the other ongoing investigation by giving out the equivalent number.

 

Firstly, please accept my apologies for the delay in providing a full
response to your request for an Internal Review.

Having consulted the information owner, I can confirm that at the time
your request was received, no websites had been removed from the IWL.  The
question of disclosing the name of any such sites does not therefore arise
and the original reply should have made this clear.  However, I would
point out that websites have been removed from the IWL since your request
was received and should a new request be submitted, it will be considered
in the context of the information held at the time the request is
received.  I appreciate that this may appear somewhat bureaucratic, but
the right of access is to information held at the time the request is
received.  Once again, please accept my apologies for the delay.

 

Should you have any further questions regarding your request, please
contact me via e-mail, letter or telephone, quoting the reference number
above.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

Dave Lockyear

Information Access Manager

 

Please consider the environment before printing my email

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References

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