MediaCAT deletes BT data as DEA review starts


BT has confirmed customer data held by MediaCAT, the porn licensee involved in the controversial ACS:Law case, has been deleted.

MediaCAT used the data to locate customers who were suspected of illegal filesharing and employed ACS:Law to send letters to those people, telling them to pay a fine or face court action.

BT was ordered in July 2010 to hand over yet more data on thousands of customers, but refused to do so and has now confirmed that information would not be sent to MediaCAT.

The porn licensee confirmed all BT customer data it held was deleted.

The telecoms giant has also been working to ensure it does not have to hand over additional data to other former ACS:Law clients and is hoping to see more information expunged.

BT managed to gain a court order meaning it would not have to send further details to Ministry of Sound, whilst a battle with media company DigiProtect looks set to see customer data erased.

"We have now taken the matter back to court and secured an order requiring DigiProtect either to issue proceedings or delete the data. The time for issuing proceedings has now expired and the data should be deleted," BT said in a community forum post.

BT had disclosed some customer details to DigiProtect under a court order in early 2010.

"As a business we must facilitate genuine rights holders who wish to enforce their copyright in a proportionate way," the firm added.

"With that in mind we have been working on a new framework policy to deal with future applications, in a bid to protect our customers."

The DEA judicial review

BT will be arguing its case against the Digital Economy Act (DEA) today as part of a judicial review into the legislation.

The firm, which believes the Act was rushed through Parliament, wants to know whether or not the law is enforceable under European telecoms, e-commerce and privacy directives.

BT and TalkTalk joined forces last year to question the Act and were successful in getting a judicial review.

Many have raised concerns about the DEA's allowance to block internet access of those suspected of repeatedly downloading copyright material.

The London School of Economics this week published a report criticising the legislation, claiming it played too much into the hands of copyright holders and ignored interests of others such as web users and ISPs like BT.

The Open Rights Group, meanwhile, has suggested the review should mark the beginning of the end for the DEA.

"We hope that this is the first step on the road to abandoning this deeply flawed Act," said Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group.

"It is an Act which simply won't work except in disproportionately harming the UK's internet providers and users. We need to start again and find a new policy settlement which embraces, rather than tramples on, the exciting possibilities that the digital age offers."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.