22 April 2004
AMSTERDAM — At the request of the US authorities, the Dutch tax investigation service FIOD-ECD has raided 14 locations in the Netherlands in an operation against large-scale software piracy.
The raids were part of a world-wide operation against the illegal spread of computer software. The US launched the operation on Wednesday and in total eight countries are involved in the crackdown.
In the Netherlands, raids were conducted on student homes in Enschede, Utrecht, Delft and Groningen. The public prosecution has also asked several universities to supply details about their computers to investigators. Arrests were reportedly made at Twente University.
The raids were part of a campaign against international crime gangs that use computers and the internet to illegally trade copied software. These organisations are known as “warez groups”.
One group called Fairlight is one of the oldest and most well-known groups within the warez scene, news agency ANP reported. But the raids have reportedly busted the group, which was established in the mid-1980s.
Fairlight is renowned for hacking copying security designed to protect popular and expensive entertainment software, such as computer games, from being illegally traded.
The FBI is currently investigating Fairlight and has tracked down IP addresses of computers used by Fairlight and thus revealing the locations of the computers, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
It claims that some of the FTP servers used are located in the Netherlands and that the servers were used to save and transport illegal programmes.
The Dutch public prosecution suspects that a few suspects living in the Netherlands are working together with colleagues in foreign countries. It is suspected they have been operating illegally for several years.
Inquiries are being conducted to determine if the group is linked to Fairlight.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news