Sending a very loud message
It is somewhat ironic that as I have already reported that while Trading Standards is under increasing financial pressure, Hounslow Trading Standards officers (assisted by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU)) executed a warrant at an address in West London.
This ‘feet on the streets action’ is part of an ongoing investigation into cybercrime by Hounslow Trading Standards, following a referral from us over concerns of the sale of pirated software.
Hounslow Trading Standards and PIPCU raided premises in West London where they found and seized a range of illicit material at the address, including computers.
We had initially been tipped off from a whistle-blower over the sale of illegal copies of popular Microsoft and Adobe business application software. The team here at FAST found the allegations to have substance and contacted Trading Standards.
These operations, often complex, depend upon the successful cooperation between industry bodies, such as ourselves, the software vendor community to examine the evidence, and valued enforcement agents such as Trading Standards and PIPCU.
PIPCU itself was launched in September 2013 to protect UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content. In its relatively short history, the Unit has been instrumental in the fight against software theft, working to take down offending sites dealing in counterfeit and illegal software, and successfully prosecuting those that would commit software theft.
What is clear from this case is that only through continued education campaigns can we hope to protect consumers. Thanks to the vigilance of the whistle blower, who contacted us direct, were FAST and the associated enforcement teams able to act. It just begs the question why is the funding for Trading Standards now so vulnerable?