‘Protection against illegal activities online’

Accom Management Guide Spring 2012

YOU INSURE YOUR LIFE TO PROTECT YOU & YOUR FAMILY “JUST IN CASE” SOMETHING HAPPENS”.  YOU INSURE YOUR HEALTH TO PROTECT YOU & YOUR FAMILY “JUST IN CASE SOMETHING HAPPENS”.  

WOULDN’T IT BE WORTH INSURING YOUR BUSINESS “JUST IN CASE” SOMEONE DOWNLOADS OR ACCESSES SOMETHING ILLEGAL USING YOUR INTERNET?

We all hate paying insurance.  But we do begrudgingly.  JUST IN CASE.

I ask you, could your business afford a $1.5 million dollar bill if one of your customers illegally downloaded a new Super Mario Bros Wii game a week before its release?

In February 2010, Nintendo successfully sued a Queensland resident $1.5 million for uploading to the internet a copy of the game.  The man was ordered by the Federal Court to pay the fine.

You are probably wondering how Nintendo came about knowing the game had been downloaded, let alone finding the perpetrator.  Nintendo used “sophisticated technological forensics” to identify the man.  The company obtained a Federal Court search order to inspect his residence which led to the seizure of property from the premises in order to gain further evidence against him.

It can happen to anyone, any business, any time.  In this instance, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) would have been subpoenaed to supply the IP addresses of those accessing the Internet at the time of the download.  They would have then been able to trace it back to the man’s residence.

If you are requested by authorities to supply the names and IP addresses of the people accessing your internet network in your business due to illegal activity, could you?

The answer for 95% of businesses of businesses is no.  Providing internet access to your clients is a necessity in today’s business environment.  But have you put in the place the correct management tools?  Does the internet system you use have the ability for data retention?  Can you prove it wasn’t you doing illegal activities online?

From 22 August 2012, the Senate approved a data retention law that allows law enforcement agencies to be able to force Internet Service Providers to retain data on subscribers under new approved legislation.  Greens Senator Scott Ludlam described it as a targeted form of data retention that allows law enforcement the ability to target, for instance, persons suspected of serious crime and ask ISPs to retain their data.

So what does this mean to you?  I’m not an ISP, I hear you saying.

Wrong.  If you are offering free or paid internet access to customers, you are an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Under the Commonwealth Government’s Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Act 1999, your business may be considered an Internet Service Provider, with potentially significant effects.  A business which enters into an agreement with an ISP (Bigpond, Dodo, Exetel, etc) under which it is provided with access to the Internet (your resort, hotel, etc) and which in turn permits other people to access the services provided by that ISP (e.g. your customers), is arguably providing those people with a service enabling them to access the Internet, hence deeming you an Internet Service provider (ISP).

So what can you do to protect your business?  You need to ensure that the Internet management system you are using has a data retention capability for at least a two year rolling period.  The IP address of your customers is the data it needs to retain.  These IP addresses on their own are useless numbers.  But if you, as the ISP keep the name and date of the person using your internet for the period of time, then this information is precious to investigations to enable prosecution of people doing illegal activities on line.  It protects you from prosecution as you are able to prove it wasn’t you doing the illegal activities on your Internet service.

Resorts and hotels can easily hand out a unique ticket with a password and username specifically for a client when they check in, therefore, recording who had access to the Internet.  Match these with your Internet management systems data retention of IP addresses and “Voila”!

There are not many businesses that could survive a $1.5 million dollar bill.  There have been prosecutions occurring for many years and they will continue to do so and will probably increase.

So why not insure yourself against these activities?  Time Out Internet is an affordable and scalable internet management system that offers IP address data retention.  It is easy to set up and use.  Insure your business today!

 Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet