INTERPOL launches project to tackle digital piracy following COVID-19 linked surge

30 April 2021
With support from Korea, the five-year project will tackle one of the fastest growing crime areas

LYON, France – With reports of digital piracy increasing by more than 60 per cent in some countries during the past 12 months, INTERPOL is launching a new project to tackle this fast growing crime area.

With EUR 2.7 million funding from the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, the five-year INTERPOL Stop Online Piracy (I-SOP) initiative will counter online piracy and crimes involving intellectual property rights infringement, identifying and dismantling linked illicit online marketplaces, as well as targeting the criminal networks and confiscating their assets.

The Korean National Police Agency will play an important role in collaborating with INTERPOL to build partnerships with industry, international organizations and academia.

The initiative will coordinate the global law enforcement response to digital piracy which can be highly lucrative for criminals with very low risk. It also has a negative impact on the creative sector and economies, ultimately affecting consumers.

Korea is supporting a new INTERPOL project tackling digital piracy
Korea is supporting a new INTERPOL project tackling digital piracy

In a virtual ceremony, INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock, Hwang Hee, Korea’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Kim Chang-Yong, Commissioner General of the Korean National Police Agency signed the agreement in support of I-SOP.

“Online copyright piracy is a growing threat to Korea as it is to other countries around the world. The economies of our nations and the livelihoods of our people depend on robust action being taken by many agencies working together to defeat this problem. As such, I welcome the opportunity for Korea and INTERPOL to work in partnership together and to provide leadership and direction in respect to this initiative,” said Hwang Hee, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

“Digital piracy is yet another crime area impacted by COVID-19. Confinement linked with reduced income has seen a global surge in the past 12 months,” said Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

“Korea’s support for this project, which will enable INTERPOL to assist countries develop a more targeted response in identifying the criminal networks, which can use their illicit profits to fuel other crimes,” added Secretary General Stock.

“The Korean National Police Agency has a long tradition of working with INTERPOL to combat transnational crime. We are proud to continue this partnership in relation to the issue of online piracy, which will ensure that law enforcement and private sector partners across Asia and around the world can join forces in order to reduce criminality, seize illegal assets and bring offenders to justice,” emphasized Kim Chang-Yong, Commissioner General of the Korean National Police.

Raising public awareness

The project is also aimed at raising public awareness of the risks linked to digital piracy. Pirated content can be used to spread malware, trojans and viruses which can result in firewalls and updates being disabled resulting in enhanced security risks.

Although INTERPOL has a long history in combating intellectual property crime, this will be the first project dedicated to the fight against Digital Piracy.

Led by the illicit Markets team, I-SOP will also draw on expertise and support from specialist officers in INTERPOL’s Cybercrime, organized crime, money laundering and fraud units to carry out a range of activities including:

  • Dismantling criminal networks involved in Digital Piracy and targeting their assets
  • Identify and take down websites and servers facilitating digital piracy
  • Improved information exchange between public and private sectors
  • Increase capacity in relevant law enforcement authorities to tackle digital piracy
  • Collection and analysis of intelligence