Since law-enforcement agency has taken down a site alleged to illegally host RnB music, downloaders have been busy trying to delete their online footprints
Users of an illegal music download site taken over by the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency have been hurriedly deleting their download histories.
According to the law-enforcement agency, after it arrested an individual connected with running the site, it has been monitoring reaction online to the take-down of the rnbxclusive.com site two days ago. The warning it posted online to users was stark:
"SOCA has the capability to monitor and investigate you, and can inform your internet service provider of these infringements. You may be liable for prosecution and the fact that you have received this message does not preclude you from prosecution."
It also warned users that that it could identify them and they could face a "maximum penalty of up to ten years imprisonment and an unlimited fine under UK law", which has led to people deleting their download histories from the site.
When asked what the next step would be, the agency, which still has control of the domain, told Computeractive that it would not be pursuing individual downloaders.
"We cannot and do not comment on ongoing investigations but it is not our job as the central agency for fighting organised crime to go after individual downloaders.
"That is not to say they may not face action by other police forces or organisations," a representative for SOCA told us.
However illegally downloading music in the UK for personal use is a civil and not a criminal offence. For people to be imprisioned they would probably have to be prosecuted under the Computer Misuse Act.
The warning and the legalities of the move to take down the website this way and monitor people has also alarmed the Open Rights Group. Peter Bradwell of the online rights organisation said:
"We have requested a meeting with them as soon as possible. We must urgently establish the basis for this and future actions. This is a matter concerning considerable power over access to information."
The individual arrested on Tuesday has now been released on police bail pending further investigations.
Updating your subscription status