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Ukraine cyber cops raid online pirate sites, detain government employee

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Ukraine Cyber police took down four pirate sites and detained two men, among whom one was found working for the Ukrainian Government in a high-level position. Ukraine launched “Operation Pirates” during April to curb and tackling the rising threats of online piracy in their country. Ever since the launch of the operation, this raid is the first successful operation in months for the Ukrainian Cyberpolice.

“We must learn how to respect intellectual works, because at first glance, watching a videotape on a pirate resource does not pose any threat to the security of society,” said Ukrainian Cyber police chief Sergey Demydyuk.

The Ukrainian Cyber police took down four piracy sites including the, one of the most popular sites in Ukraine with more than 500,000 daily visit in the previous month. Nearly 84% of the site’s massive traffic came from Ukraine alone, according to SimilarWeb. These sites were estimated to generate several thousand dollars of ad-revenue per month. As of now, the police haven’t released any official report on the earnings of these websites through ad-revenue.

According to the Cyber police, the four defunct sites were operated by two brothers aged 38 and 32 from Dnipropetrovsk region in Eastern Ukraine. One of the two brothers under custody was revealed as an employee of Ukraine’s State Fiscal Service that handles taxes, customs, and fights against tax or custom frauds. The Cyber police conducted a thorough search of the suspect’s place of employment and seized his equipment.

It is reported that the two brothers operating the piracy sites are under a pre-trial investigation under Part 3 of Article 176 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. If found guilty, they may face imprisonment up to six years on charges of copyright and several intellectual property rights violations.

Ukraine has been vigilant about piracy and had conducted several such operations earlier this year and shut down more than 60 pirate sites that stream pirated content. The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has kept Ukraine on its Priority Watch List published last month for reasons such as high online piracy resulting in increased piracy in other markets as well.

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