Italian Police Raided 72 Locations Linked With IPTV Operations

By Bill Toulas / July 21, 2020

The Italian police have carried out 72 raids in individual locations across the country, targeting an IPTV platform serving 65,000 users, making one million Euros per year. The investigation was launched last year by the Economic and Financial Police Unit of Venice (Guardia di Finanza). The investigators apparently managed to track down the operators of the platform and the main resellers of its services.

The police have also raided the two offices that processed the pre-paid cards that the IPTV platform’s customers were purchasing (10 Euros), in order to secure their subscriptions anonymously.

Related: Over 4 Million IPTV Users in Italy Rely on Pirated Sports Content Consumption

More specifically, 22 individuals were arrested and charged for capturing, decrypting, and distributing pay-TV signals over pirate IPTV networks. The signals came from broadcasters like Sky, DAZN, Mediaset, Infinity, and more. A further 48 people were located and arrested on the grounds of participating in financial crimes, engaging in the reselling of the IPTV services.

Customers of the platform - which hasn’t been named yet - may also find trouble, as the investigation on the confiscated hardware will surely reveal IP addresses unless they were all using VPN tools.

As the finance crime police unit told the press, the IPTV platform operators were replacing their cards every month to avoid identification. The subscribers were requested to top-up new cards every month, so the money was going to the same people but through slightly different channels. From there, 11 rotating individuals transferred the money to Italian and Lithuanian bank accounts, hoping that their trail was lost. Obviously, it wasn’t, and we can comment on their effort on that part as being below par, really.

The head of the Federation for the Protection of Audiovisual and Multimedia Content commented the following on the case:

“The activity conducted by the Guardia di Finanza of Venice, to which our most heartfelt thanks go, is of particular importance since it goes against one of the main and most harmful forms of audiovisual piracy, that is, illegal IPTV. In one of our recently-published studies, it was highlighted that audiovisual piracy is a phenomenon far from underestimated, with an incidence of 37% among the adult population. Illegal IPTVs, in particular, represent one of the fastest-growing forms of illicit use: its incidence at the end of 2019 is 10%, about a quarter of the total number of pirates.”

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