ACS:Law have wrongly accused thousands of internet users for breach of copyright, and those accusations have been exposed along with vast amounts of leaked personal data. They are now considering using the Digital Economy Act to pursue “adult” file-sharers.

Privacy International is planning legal action against ACS:Law for breaching the privacy of internet users. Data held by ACS:Law, a law firm that has tracked internet users to pursue legal action for breach of copyright, includes information on approximately 10,000 people assumed to have been involved in file-sharing of pornographic works, exposing their names, addresses, postcodes, and Internet protocol addresses. Credit card details have also been made available.

Alexander Hanff, PI Advisor, says: “This data breach is likely to result in significant harm to tens of thousands of people in the form of fraud, identity theft and severe emotional distress. This firm collected this information by spying on internet users, and now it has placed thousands of innocent people at risk.”

PI has briefed the Information Commissioner’s Office and is preparing a complaint. PI is also accepting complaints directly from the public, and we urge anyone who is a victim of this breach to get in touch as soon as possible by emailing alex@privacy.org.

The ACS:Law leaks are an extreme abuse of people’s privacy. These practices show exactly how poor and circumstantial this “infringement” evidence is, and why private investigation agencies should not be allowed to collect surveillance data without consent. The Digital Economy Act will create new possibilities of harassment and legal bullying. And ACS:Law are thinking of using it.