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World of Sport

31st Aug 2023

‘Dodgy box’ crackdown launched by Gardaí, targeting seven counties

Simon Kelly

Something dodgy going on.

Gardaí have launched a new crackdown on the sale of ‘dodgy box’ devices in seven counties around Ireland this week.

The counties currently being targeted are Cork, Dublin, Galway, Laois, Louth, Mayo and Monaghan, with the investigation being led by the Federation Against Copyright Theft alongside the Gardaí.

‘Dodgy boxes’ are devices used to bypass paid TV channels illegally. Codes can also be sold to access extra paid content like premium sports channels.

‘Dodgy box’ crackdown launched by Gardaí, targeting seven counties.

The devices have seen a rise in Ireland over the past few years, with a similar crackdown earlier in 2023 resulting in several sellers of the boxes getting shut down by authorities.

In April, a Dublin man who sold the boxes to 150 people and charging them €12 per month for codes was sentenced to 240 hours of community service,

This crackdown is set to target the sellers of the products, rather than the homeowners who purchase them.

Ireland has the sixth highest use of dodgy boxes in the EU, according to an EU report into illegal internet protocol television (IPTV) in 2019.

A spokesperson for the gardaí said that there are “a number of live investigations” by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI) Intellectual Property Crime Unit, with “some matters currently before the courts.”

Premier League football is the main driver of ‘dodgy box’ sales

In May, five individuals in the UK running dodgy box streaming services – called Flawless, Shared VPS and Optimal – received jail sentences of up to 11 years. The services involved had up to 50,000 monthly customers.

The English Premier League is one of the main drivers behind sales, with many looking to bypass the paywalls of various services that offer matches, like Sky and TNT (formerly BT).

The league has obtained a legal order in Ireland that requires internet services to block illegal online streams of football matches.

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