O2 forced to expose alleged porn pirates - Wikimedia

O2 has been ordered to expose the details of roughly 9,000 broadband customers for alleged porn copyright infringement. The move has been described as "ridiculous" by privacy groups.

Ben Dover, a pseudonym of British performer and porn producer Lindsay Honey, along with his Golden Eye International affiliate, moaned to the High Court alleging that O2's customers had unlawfully downloaded his films.

They demanded that the judge force O2 to release the IP addresses of its customers so Dover could send out letters demanding fines of £700 for "unlawful filesharing."

O2 fought the demands but was unsuccessful, meaning that it now has to hand over the details. However, the judge refused to support the fines.

He also claimed that the letter that Golden Eye International wanted to send demanding payment was “capable of causing unnecessary distress." This was because it could be interpreted as a threat of publicity once proceedings had begun - and force customers who refused to pay back into court again.

The Pirate Party has blasted the move as "ridiculous".

Andrew Robinson, founder of the Pirate Party UK, told TechEye: "This practice has been ridiculous for years. It's the ACS Law case all over again but without a reputable company behind it this time.

"The real problem is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The Digital Economy Act has now made it easy for companies and individuals to request information such as this and this practice and letter sending will become common.

"The problem is that records kept by ISPs aren't always accurate when it comes to IP addresses. This letter sending is just bullying and even if someone is totally innocent they may feel they have to pay the fee just to make it all go away.

"The balance is completely wrong."