Following the recent sentencing of movie pirates in the United Kingdom, some curious folk hunted down the details on how police came to discover the pirates’ identities. Not surprisingly, and despite the prosecutor’s claim that the pirates had taken big steps to avoid detection, uncovering the pirates’ identities was pretty simple and largely revolved around the clumsy use of social media. In some cases, a single sentence was all it took.
According to TorrentFreak, which obtained details on how the five “most prolific” UK pirates were caught, at least some in the group made small mistakes that cost them greatly. The investigations were conducted by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), which turned its data over to law enforcement.
Sahil Rafiq, who received 4.5 years in jail, used multiple usernames for his piracy actions, for example. One of those usernames was also used to publicly post on a PC Specialist forum where he signed his full name. A few hops and skips later, and the investigators had found his Facebook where he listed other personal information, including where he worked.
Another pirate, Graeme Reid, was caught in part due to using his Hushmail email address on his personal Facebook page where he listed himself as an “encoder.” He’s not the only one to make that mistake, though — Ben Cooper was also ultimately found because he used a piracy-related email address for his Facebook page, which listed both his birth date and city of residence.