Four arrests made over ‘Game Of Thrones’ episode leak in India

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Four arrests have been made in the online leak of Episode 4 of the current ‘Game Of Thrones’ series, which is being aired on Star TV India.

It is being reported that an employee and three others associated with Prime Focus Technologies, the agency contracted by Star TV India, have been arrested. The episode, which had the Star TV watermark, was leaked last weekend – two days prior to telecast on Star World. After the incident, Star India Private Limited and Novi Digital Private Limited gave a complaint to the office of Special IGP (Cyber), Government of Maharashtra.

A statement released by Star TV India said, “We have just learnt from law enforcement agencies about the significant progress made by them into the investigation of the breach of episode 4 of Game of Thrones Season 7, including the arrest of ​4​ individuals associated with our technology vendor, Prime Focus Technologies. We are extremely delighted with the speed and rigour with which the Office of the Special Inspector General of Police Mr. Brijesh Singh (Cyber), Government of Maharashtra and office of DCP Cyber Cell, Mumbai have moved on this investigation.

This is the first time in the history of Star India that an incident of this nature has occurred. We are deeply grateful to the police for their swift and prompt action. We believe that valuable intellectual property is a critical part of the development of the creative industry and strict enforcement of the law is essential to protecting it.

We at Star India & Novi Digital Entertainment Private Limited stand committed and ready to help the law enforcement agencies with any technical assistance and help they may require in taking the investigation to its logical conclusion.”

A Special IGP to Media said in a statement, “Officers of the Cyber & PAW, Government of Maharashtra, conducted preliminary enquiry and basis the electronic trail and other technical material, zeroed in on Prime Focus Technologies – the agency contracted by Star India Private Limited to manage the data, as being responsible for the illegal leakage of the episode. The material collected by the Department, together with the opinion, was sent to the office of DCP (Cyber), BKC, Mumbai for further investigation and necessary penal action in accordance with law.

At this stage, Prime Focus Technologies came forward and accepting that the leakage had happened at its end, lodged a complaint (FIR) against one of its serving employee and alleging that he along with another former employee and other persons unauthorizedly gained access to the episode and thereafter illegally leaked the same for viewing by the general public over the internet.

A joint team from the office of Cyber & PAW, Government of Maharashtra and the office of DCP (Cyber), BKC, Mumbai, led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, swooped in on the Bangalore office of Prime Focus Technologies from where the leakage was apprehended to have occurred and carried out interrogation of the employees throughout the night on August 11, 2017. The investigation revealed complicity and involvement of more persons than those specifically named in the FIR, particularly the ones working in the office and otherwise lawfully having access to the raw data of the series. Investigation was simultaneously being carried out by Police Inspector Sardesai at the Police Station.

The information and material collected at the Bangalore office and the Mumbai Police station was collated, studied and analysed by the police. On being satisfied that the material collected by the investigating agency sufficiently established the role and involvement of various persons – both, existing and former employees as well as outsiders — arrest of 04 persons was affected on August 14, 2017.

All the accused persons were produced before the court of Magistrate. A prayer was made for their custodial interrogation and the court has been pleased to send the accused persons to police custody for 7 days, i.e., till August 21, 2017.

The police is still continuing with the investigation. The unfortunate incident of leakage, perhaps, a first instance of cybercrime of its kind in India, has been handled with deft professionalism by the office of Special IGP, Mr. Brijesh Singh (Cyber), Government of Maharashtra and the Mumbai Police.”

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