Fire TV Stick users warned of new streaming risk after UK crackdown confirmed

A fresh crackdown on illegal streaming has just taken place in the UK with one supplier of so-called ‘dodgy’ Fire TV Sticks arrested in the latest police raids. A 51-year-old man was taken into custody last week after Cheshire Police Cyber Crime Unit detectives, along with support from the team at FACT, entered a property in Widnes, Cheshire.

Numerous streaming devices were seized at the address, along with crypto-currency, cash and a small amount of drugs. A picture posted by police shows a swathe of set-top boxes and Fire TV Sticks found at the location. These popular devices are often sold online and usually offer full access to premium sports and movie channels without paying the usual monthly fee.

All of the devices found during this month’s raid are currently undergoing further forensic examination with support from FACT.

This new arrest means the seller in question will no longer be able to supply homes with illegal streaming devices and along with that block police are also warning people of the significant risks involved in watching TV without the proper subscriptions.

“While many people think that illegal streaming is a victimless crime, that is simply not the case,” explained Detective Constable Hannah Clement, a Specialist Cyber Investigator.

“It causes an enormous loss to the entertainment industry and is also unfair that millions of people work hard to afford their subscription-only TV services while others cheat the system.

“In addition, by using illegal streaming services, you also increase the risk of receiving malicious software, which gives criminals access to your network and can compromise your personal data. I hope that this warrant acts as a warning to those who knowingly commit or facilitate online copyright infringement.”

This latest crackdown comes after another seller of modified devices was handed a two-year suspended sentence.

Kevin James O’Donnell, from Liverpool, pleaded guilty to charges of promoting and selling illegally modified Fire Sticks that offered unauthorised access to premium film and television content, including live football matches.

Over 3,000 people purchased these devices via platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook with most then paying a small fee to tune into services such as Sky Sports.

Speaking about the conviction, Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT, said: “We are immensely grateful for the diligent work carried out by Merseyside Police Cyber Crime Unit. Their collaboration with FACT has been instrumental in holding O’Donnell accountable for his actions. This case highlights the importance of protecting legitimate providers as well as the significant impact that coordinated law enforcement efforts can have on combating digital piracy.

“The message is very clear: if you sell a device that provides access to content that is not licensed to you or owned by you, you could face criminal investigation, prosecution and a conviction.”

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