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UK Fire TV Stick users issued with new warning when streaming Sky TV for free

Signing up for premium TV services from the likes of Sky, Virgin and TNT Sports isn’t cheap. Some telly packages can cost hundreds of pounds a year so it’s not surprising that UK consumers are looking for cheaper or even free ways to tune into content. One method that has boomed in popularity is buying Fire TV Sticks that have been adapted to bypass official providers and offer a full range of premium content.

Some sellers of these devices, which are often found on the web or via social media pages, charge a one-off or small yearly fee for full access to services such as Sky Sports and Cinema.

It’s clearly tempting but also highly illegal and that’s not the only thing users of so-called ‘dodgy Fire TV Sticks’ should be concerned about. UK police have just issued a fresh warning about the risks of using adapted streaming devices which include being exposed to viruses and malware.

“Illegal streaming is far from a victimless crime, and as well as the impact it has on businesses and content creators, it essentially means that legitimate subscribers pay for those who illegally access such services,” said Detective Inspector Steve Frame.

“Illegal streams also increase the risk of users receiving malware, which can put them at increased risk of falling victim to Computer Misuse Act offences.

“We will use all available powers and continue to work with FACT to identify anyone else who is involved in this form of criminality and put them before the courts.”

This latest warning was released after one seller of Fire TV Sticks was recently handed a two-year suspended sentence.

Kevin James O’Donnell, from Liverpool, pleaded guilty to charges of promoting and selling illegally modified firesticks that offered unauthorised access to premium film and television content, including live football matches.

Operating under the alias ‘Kevo James’, his account boasted over 3,600 members who paid beween £40-£80 a year to watch premium content.

“The message is very clear: if you sell a device that provides access to content that is not licensed to you or owned by you, you could face criminal investigation, prosecution and a conviction,” said Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT.

“This case highlights the importance of protecting legitimate providers as well as the significant impact that coordinated law enforcement efforts can have on combating digital piracy.”


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