Up to 300 Irish Internet users were incorrectly sent "first strike" notices warning them about copyright infringement offenses. The 300 were customers of Eircom, who agreed a gradual response system with record labels that would see alleged pirates warned about their activities and possibly cut off if they persist.
Eircom has admitted that a mistake was made due to a software failure caused when the, "clock went back last October." This explanation suggests that the server clocks did not reflect Daylight Savings Time, and as a result, some innocent users were identified as the offender for something another user did with the same (dynamically obtained) IP address, at a different time.
The Data Protection Commissioner in the country is investigating the incident, which now may probe the legality of the entire system. When the High Court gave the green light for Eircom and the rights' holders to operate the system in the country, the only parties before the court had a vested interest in it being passed. The Data Protection Commissioner was not even represented.
At the time, the Commissioner was not convinced by the judgement, but until a valid complaint against the system would be made, the Commissioner could not take any action. Now that there is a valid complaint, the Commissioner has the power to issue an enforcement notice which would prevent Eircom from using personal data for the system (the Commissioner previously had said the usage of personal information in this way did not constitute "fair use").
In that case, unless Eircom successfully challenged the enforcement notice in the courts, or the music industry bodies was successful in getting three strikes legislation into Irish law, the entire system as it is could be derailed.
Written by: James Delahunty @ 25 Jun 2011 19:27