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ISP sent 'first strike' letters to wrong people

A report quietly published last year which shows how Irish ISP Eircom managed to send 300 'first strike' copyright infringement letters to entirely the wrong people, has been unearthed.

Torrent Freak reports that the letters, which are the first part of the 'three strikes' process whereby those accused by Big Media of persistently abusing illegal file sharing methods can be excommunicated from the Internet without due process or court action.

At the tome a company spokesman said, "Eircom is proceeding with implementation of the protocol which could result in the suspension and ultimately disconnection of broadband service for those customers who deliberately and persistently infringe copyright."

Unfortunately for all concerned, a couple of months later Eircom had sent around 300 threatening letters to completely innocent subscribers.

The company tried to cover up the cock up by blaming it on an error caused by confusion over daylight savings time. We can only assume that dynamically allocated IP addresses assigned to one user were assigned to another after midnight, and that the wrong punters were sent the first strike missives.

The case could have wider implications for the whole 'three strikes' system internationally as online rights groups strive to have dynamically allocated IP addresses treated as personal data for legal reasons.