We’re watching what you’re watching, say West Midlands police

Anyone who uses a streaming service to view online content for free may well be seeing more than they had hoped to see, after it emerged that on-screen messages by police are to be sent in a crackdown on piracy.

There has been in increase in people using illicit streaming services to watch paid-for content for free, including shows and films normally available on Sky TV, Netflix, and Prime Video.

Hundreds of thousands of viewers using pirate IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) services to access free content have had their access revoked in an operation carried out by West Midlands Police and FACT, the UK's intellectual property protection organisation.

The joint operation, which was months in the planning, shut down a piracy network that provided over 100 separate television services. It's believed hundreds of thousands of people across the UK used these services, reports the Express.

Anyone that had access to these services before will now see their usual stream replaced with a warning from police.

The on-screen message says anyone that had been accessing the content was watching it unlawfully. The illegal streaming services, which have now been shut down, were available to watch on smart TVs, smartphones, tablets and via illicit streaming devices.