Police in the UK are set to start using wi-fi tracking devices to track mobile phones, computers and other devices as part of a national campaign to crack down on mobile phone piracy.
The police will be using the new tracking devices, known as “wifi hotspots”, in a bid to identify people who are illegally downloading copyrighted music.
The device will be activated automatically if a user logs on to a new phone, tablet or laptop and is connected to a wi-Fi network.
The devices will then automatically collect a detailed list of the devices’ IP addresses.
If the IP address of a device is detected, police will then be able to trace the user back to the address.
The tracking devices will be used to monitor and track the users whereabouts, and if the device is lost, police can then seek a court order for it to be recovered.
The new policy is being implemented by police forces across England and Wales.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “This new system will help police in their efforts to tackle piracy and online copyright infringement.”
This new policy will be implemented across the UK, including in the London Metropolitan Police and the Metropolitan Police Service of Greater London.
A spokesperson for the UK Intellectual Property Commission said:”This is a major advance in the police’s efforts to target the misuse of copyright material and prevent piracy, and is being piloted across the country.””
It is used by police for a variety of purposes including locating suspected pirates, identifying and arresting people who have committed copyright offences, tracking down missing mobile phones or laptops, or locating missing computers, smartphones or tablets, as well as capturing metadata from a range of mobile phone and tablet devices.”
A spokesperson for the UK Intellectual Property Commission said:”This is a major advance in the police’s efforts to target the misuse of copyright material and prevent piracy, and is being piloted across the country.”
The new monitoring and identification systems will help to identify suspects, identify and prosecute those responsible, and enable police to take action against copyright infringers.
“Police have said that their new approach is aimed at protecting copyright holders and the public from copyright infringement.”
The UK has had a string of high profile cases of copyright infringement and counterfeiting.
In September last year, a video was released in which a British music mogul pleaded guilty to importing counterfeit CDs, which had been made illegally in the US.
In April, a British musician was arrested in the USA after police raided his house and seized hundreds of CDs.
Police in London also raided a music festival in May and seized more than 600 CDs, DVDs and videos.
The new policy follows on from the UK’s decision to ban the sale of pirated CDs from the internet, a move which has had considerable success in preventing copyright infringement, counterfeiting and piracy.