“Six Strikes” Evidence Still Waiting for Impartial Re-review

Last year it was revealed that the "independent and impartial expert" that reviewed the six-strikes scheme evidence was a former RIAA lobbying firm. To restore the public’s faith in the BitTorrent monitoring scheme, CCI promised to promptly appoint a new independent expert. However, TorrentFreak has learned that after several months the group is still to decide who will carry out the review of the evidence review.

reviewLast week the six-strikes anti-piracy system was launched by the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) and since then thousands of Internet subscribers have received so-called copyright alerts.

The evidence at the base of the accusations is provided by the copyright holders who hired a company called MarkMonitor (DtecNet) to snoop on BitTorrent users.

This information then goes to the Internet providers, who forward it to their customers in the form of a “copyright alert”.

To guarantee the accuracy of the evidence behind the accusations the parties agreed to hire an impartial and independent technology expert, but October last year their commitment to this promise was questioned when the expert turned out to be Stroz Friedberg, a former RIAA lobbying group.

The CCI realized that this was an unfortunate pick and the group quickly announced that a new expert would re-review the evidence. With this re-examination CCI hoped to restore the public’s faith in the six-strikes scheme.

“We are sensitive to any appearance that Stroz lacks independence, and so CCI has decided to have another expert review Stroz’s initial evaluation of the content community’s processes. We will be selecting the additional expert promptly and will make that information available,” CCI’s Executive Director Jill Lesser said last October.

Nearly five months have passed since that announcement, and with the six-strikes scheme in full effect we wondered what the status on the re-examination is. Quite surprisingly, there appears to have been very little progress.

The CCI informed TorrentFreak that a new independent expert is yet to be picked. The group could give no further details but it’s safe to assume that it will take at least a few more months before the re-review is completed. By that time, millions of subscribers may have already received their alerts.

Fortunately, the initial evidence gathering review by the ‘tainted’ Stroz Friedberg seemed solid. Nonetheless, considering the sensitivities and the fact that millions of people are affected, the wise choice would have been to get the re-examination done as soon as possible.

It will be interesting to see how many reports of wrongful accusations, if any, will surface during the coming months. If MarkMonitor’s track record of DMCA notices sent to Google is any indication, there might be a few mistakes here and there.

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