The British solicitor who sent thousands of speculative letters to internet users accusing them of piracy has been declared bankrupt by the High Court.
Andrew Crossley, who ran the now-defunct legal firm ACS:Law, achieved notoriety when his firm sent the legal letters on behalf of client mediaCAT accusing thousands of internet users of piracy and demanding a £500 payment.
The letters were based on traffic data obtained by German tracking client DigiProtect, and it is believed that ACS:Law reaped thousands of pounds from people who paid to avoid prosecution.
The letters caused outrage among internet users, and attracted strong criticism from consumer groups and an investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
ACS:Law also aroused the ire of hackers who launched a distributed denial-of-service attack on the firm's web site, cracked its servers and published email files online exposing the personal details of 6,000 people.
An investigation by the Information Commissioner's Office into the incident found that security procedures at ACS:Law were seriously lacking, and that the company did not even have a basic firewall or access control system in place.
ACS:Law was fined £1,000, reduced from a possible £200,000 because of the reduced circumstances of the company.
Crossley took his first eight file sharing cases to court, but was slapped down by the presiding judge, who ruled that ACS:Law was on shaky legal ground and had not provided accurate evidence.
The High Court has now declared Crossley bankrupt, effectively barring him from practising law until a peer review by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
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