Thousands under scrutiny as piracy ring shut down

European police are continuing to investigate thousands of people after 181 were arrested in a sting on one of the world's largest Internet piracy rings

One of the largest Internet piracy rings in the world has been shut down in a police operation that resulted in the arrest of 181 people.

The sting also resulted in the recovery of around 118m (about £84m) euros worth of pirated software -- one of the biggest single hauls ever.

The raids where part of 'Operation Mouse' and took place in Italy where they were carried out by the Guardia di Finanza. The operation was supported by the Business Software Alliance.

Beth Scott, vice president of EMEA at the Business Software Alliance, said: "This case proves the very real threat from increasingly sophisticated piracy gangs which use the Internet to market themselves."

"BSA's Internet enforcement programme works alongside many European law enforcement agencies such as Guardia di Finanza, providing its Internet investigatory expertise to help promote a safe and legal digital world. Strong enforcement deterrents play a vital role alongside educational efforts in fighting the issue of cybercrime."

Goods seized included thousands of illegal copies of software, music and films plus PCs, CD/DVD writers and video recorders.

Much of the software was from major manufacturers and included Adobe, Apple, Macromedia, Microsoft and Symantec products.

The network used email and illegal Web sites to market itself and distributed goods via mail-order. During the investigation, 12 Web sites and 28 email accounts were monitored and intercepted and two Web sites have been placed under restraint.

More than 10,000 people are still being investigated in the ongoing operation.


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