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Former ACS lawyer quits new firm amid DDoS fears

Terence Tsang, the former ACS Law employee hired to help London lawyers Cramer Pelmont target illegal file sharers, has left the company - and no one's saying why.

Tsang joined Cramer in April this year, having cut his teeth at controversial outfit ACS Law. His former employer, solicitor Andrew Crossley, had been widely accused of harassing file sharers by sending out letters accusing users of illegally downloading copyright material.

The letters demanded payments of £500 or more in return for dropping threatened legal action - a practice euphemistically referred to as "speculative invoicing".

Tsang's new employer, Cramer Pelmont, confirmed to Which? magazine - a long-standing opponent of ACS Law's tactics - at the beginning of October, that it intended to pursue file-sharers.

Partner Dr Alex Crossley denied at the time that the firm would be using the bullying tactics Tsang is believed to have been instrumental in employing at ACS Law. Instead, the firm intended to use the provisions of the recent Digital Economy Act to crack down on offenders.

But just days later, on 6th October, a report on ISP Review indicated the firm had performed a U-turn and no longer planned to pursue offenders under the DEA.

More interesting, however, was the fact that Terence Tsang's profile had disappeared from the firm's site.

Dr Alex Brassley, a partner at Cramer Pelmont, confirmed to IT news site Techeye that Tsang was no longer working for the practice, but wouldn't be drawn on why.

We're guessing the spectre of distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks carried out on the websites of ACS Law and fellow legal firm Gallant Macmillan might have had something to do with it.

The attack on Gallant Macmillan came on 4th October, on the eve of a hearing in the High Court at which the firm was to ask for BT-owned ISP Plusnet to be forced to cough up the names and addresses of subscribers alleged to have illegally downloaded music from record label Ministry of Sound.

The DDoS attacks were carried out by a group of hackers calling themselves Anonymous, as part of a campaign dubbed 'Operation Payback'.

The take-down of ACS Law's web site could see the firm's sole practitioner, Andrew Crossley, facing a £500,000 fine from UK data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office, after the firm's email database was leaked onto file-sharing sites across the web.

The leak exposed the credit card details of some 8,000 Sky subscribers - not to mention some rather colourful missives Crossley had sent to his ex-wife.