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Hundreds Mistakenly Accused of Illegal File Sharing

Posted: 30th Oct, 2008 By: MarkJ
Consumer magazine Which? has estimated that "hundreds" of people are being incorrectly accused of having downloaded illegal music, videos and or games from the Internet. The news follows the case of Ken and Gill Murdoch, aged 54 and 66 from Inverness, whom were threatened by Atari for allegedly sharing the game 'Race 07' online.

The couple, whom claim to have never even played a computer game in their lives, received a warning letter from Davenport Lyons (London), Atari's solicitors, requesting £500 in compensation for the act and £25 to cover costs or they would face legal proceedings:

"We do not have, and have never had, any computer game or sharing software. We did not even know what 'peer to peer' [P2P] was until we received the letter," said the couple.

Which? Computing editor Sarah Kidner added: "It's outrageous that lawyers are falsely accusing people of illegally file-sharing and we think they should cut out the heavy-handed tactics.

But consumers need to be aware of the dangers of having their computer address piggy-backed and take some basic steps to protect themselves.
"

The couple claim that their address must have been hijacked and they were not running a wireless network, suggesting either an administrative error or that the IP was being piggybacked by a hacker who may have compromised their computer.

Naturally it is important that consumers secure their connections as best they possibly can, using firewalls and effective anti-virus protection, although there is and never will be such a thing as 100% security. Internet Protocol (IP) addresses alone are not an effective way of determining a computer users true identity.
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