Police have detained three people in connection with the illegal transmission of cable TV content and illegal possession of central servers that were transmitting the TV signal in nine raids carried out on Tuesday evening in collaboration with Europol.
This was part of a broader operation, in coordination with Europol, also carried out in another three EU member-states. According to a police announcement, nine raids were carried out in three districts, with the participation of Europol’s Mobile Unit.
The suspects, two residents of Limassol and one person from Larnaca, aged 43, 44 and 53, were arrested and remanded for eight days on Wednesday after police said they found illegal central servers and transmission hardware in their possession.
Among the charges being investigated are conspiracy to commit a felony, a violation on European law on intellectual property, the unlawful creation of personal data without the approval of the data protection agency, and felonies against the law on prevention and combatting of illicit operations.
State broadcaster CyBC said that the whole police operation is the result of an investigation that began last February. The delay occurred because the server that was in Bulgaria used masking software that showed it was coming from the Netherlands.
The perpetrators allegedly established a significant technical network of servers that broadcast more than 1,000 cable channels to more than half a million subscribers in Europe. Channels included Nova, Sky Cinema and Sky Sports.
The use of IPTV, otherwise known as internet protocol television, uses set-top boxes to receive online streaming services with internet connection instead of mainstream antennas or fibre-optic cables.
The providers illegally transmit pay per view services through various online pirated content. It is illegal under the law on intellectual property crime in Europe. In many cases, a provider or a user may use Virtual Private Networks or VPN to conceal their personal identity and location, whilst circumventing any geo-restrictions.