The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) is launching a new five-year project to tackle digital piracy following a significant increase in the number of offenses.
According to INTERPOL, digital piracy has increased by more than 60 percent in some countries during the 12 months from April 2020 as millions of people have been confined due to the global health pandemic.
The new INTERPOL Stop Online Piracy (I-SOP) initiative will combat online piracy and crimes involving intellectual property rights infringement. Criminal networks that are successfully targeted will have their assets confiscated.
Under the initiative, law enforcement agencies will also work to identify and dismantle illegal online marketplaces where pirated content is streamed and sold.
I-SOP aims to close the net on offenders by coordinating the global law enforcement response to digital piracy—a crime that INTERPOL says is currently “highly lucrative for criminals with very low risk.”
The project also hopes to raise public awareness of the risks that come with purchasing pirated digital content.
“Pirated content can be used to spread malware, trojans, and viruses which can result in firewalls and updates being disabled, resulting in enhanced security risks,” said INTERPOL.
The organization added that digital piracy “also has a negative impact on the creative sector and economies, ultimately affecting consumers.”
A sizable chunk of funding for the project will be supplied by the Republic of Korea. The country’s Ministry of Culture, Sport, and Tourism has agreed to provide I-SOP with €2.7m of financial support.
In a recent virtual ceremony, Korea’s minister of culture, sports, and tourism, Hwang Hee; INTERPOL’s secretary general, Jürgen Stock; and Kim Chang-Yong, commissioner general of the Korean National Police Agency, signed an agreement in support of I-SOP.
“The Korean National Police Agency has a long tradition of working with INTERPOL to combat transnational crime,” said Chang-Yong.
He added: “We are proud to continue this partnership in relation to the issue of online piracy, which will ensure that law enforcement and private-sector partners across Asia and around the world can join forces in order to reduce criminality, seize illegal assets, and bring offenders to justice.