I watch illegal content on my Amazon Fire stick – firms are too greedy
EXCLUSIVE I download illegal content on my Amazon Fire stick because streaming giants are getting too greedy – I’m fed up of forking out for multiple streaming services
- Cybercrime experts have warned modified devices are funding organised crime
Modified Amazon fire stick users have told MailOnline how they are saving up to £1,000 a year by streaming content illegally after becoming frustrated at ‘greedy’ subscription services.
Britons struggling with the cost of living have claimed they can ‘easily’ buy pre-modified sticks or pay a fixed price to have them changed by a tech expert in order to access pay-for TV such as Sky Sports, BT and Netflix for a much lower fee.
One user even claimed ’90 percent’ of their friends and family own a modified fire stick and that his household is saving £1000 per year.
Modifying an Amazon fire stick to enable it to download IPTV apps is not illegal – but using them to stream TV without paying the copyright holders is. IPTV refers to the process of watching TV through an IP address rather than through channels.
It comes as MailOnline has spoken to cybersecurity experts who have warned ‘dodgy’ modified sticks pose a security risk – as they are easy to hack and could end up with users’ personal data being sold to criminals.
Modified Amazon fire stick users have told MailOnline how they are saving up to £1,000 a year by streaming content illegally
Owning or modifying an Amazon fire stick is not a crime – but streaming copyrighted content without paying the copyright holders is
One user said they have switched to using a modified stick after 18 years of paying for Sky TV.
‘I was a Sky customer for 18 years, and always have had full package (sports, movies, kids TV, documentaries as extras) and also would purchase boxing and MMA pay-per-views (£20 plus a time) when they are on.
‘But each year the price would dramatically increase, or the sports packages would be split, meaning paying more for the same content I originally had.’
The man purchased an Amazon fire stick himself, before having a friend download an IPTV app onto it.
‘I still get everything I had before, but I am no longer paying £100 plus each month to Sky. I now pay £50 a year.
‘On top of that, any PPVs are now free, and I also have access to American TV channels which is a bonus as I am a big NBA fan.
‘There’s always over 10000 films and TV shows to watch on demand, anytime. My mum, brothers, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and my eldest son all have firesticks now.
‘We know it isn’t legal, and that’s the reason we didn’t want one for a few years, but in the end, cost wise it is saving us over a £1000 a year. I would say that 90 percent of my friends and people I know now have one also.’
A second modified stick user told MailOnline they have ‘several’ modified fire sticks in their home, as do many of their family members.
They said they are ‘all sourced from a local shop, where all the locals know to go.’
He added he bought his own stick before paying £40 for it to be modified – and last weekend used it to watch Manchester United play Newcastle and Oppenheimer.
Another person said: ‘I stream illegal content. I’ve only recently returned to doing it. I usually pay for all my digital content, however when it comes to streaming I’m completely fed up.’
They added: ‘It feels like I need to pay a different service every time I want to watch something. A lot of content is being removed just to be put behind a walled garden of another streaming service.
‘It all feels greedy, and these companies have once again crossed a delicate threshold – streaming or downloading content illegally has become easier and more convenient than using legitimate services.’
Other users said they rely on devices such as Amazon fire sticks to watch UK football.
Currently, no 3pm kick-off games are shown on any UK TV channel.
One football fan said: ‘I pay Sky Sports, BT/TNT Sport and Amazon subscriptions but if the match I want to watch isn’t selected for broadcast in the UK I have no other way of watching it at home.
‘This applies to all 3pm Saturday games which are still covered by the out archaic blackout laws.
Fire stick users told MailOnline they can save up to £1,000 per year
‘A season pass for all my clubs games, or all Premier League games, would solve the problem but currently I would have to move abroad to get one.
READ MORE: I’m a security expert and dodgy Amazon Fire sticks are here to stay: Tech guru says millions of Brits fed up with extortionate cost of subscriptions like Netflix, Prime and Disney are getting a device… but warns they are easy to hack
‘I only stream games that I can’t already watch in the UK and I pay for all available services.’
Firms previously warned they are cracking down on the rise of illegal streaming, with users being cautioned they could face a knock on the door from police.
Copyright laws mean those found to be fraudulently receiving transmissions can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and face a hefty fine.
Intelligence unit officers working with Fact-UK have sent out ‘Cease and Desist’ letters and are conducting nationwide ‘Knock and Talks’ with those who partake in the illegal practice, informing individuals they face further action or prosecution if they do not stop.
Over three weeks the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact-UK) and Sky teamed up with regional police forces to deliver 47 cease-and-desist notices to UK providers of IPTV services.
Matt Hibbert, director of Anti-Piracy UK and ROI at Sky, said: ‘We understand the power of working with our partners to tackle the issue of illegal streaming, and we’re grateful to FACT and law enforcement for their support.
‘At Sky we are passionate about protecting our content while ensuring consumers can enjoy the content they love, free from risks that illegal streams can pose.’
But experts have warned MailOnline readers they may be opening themselves up to crime or funding organised crime themselves by using the sticks.
Dr John Dempsey of the University of Central Lancashire, who specialises in cybercrime investigation, told MailOnline that users cannot be sure of their safety.
‘Your personal data may be sold – this includes contact details such as email addresses, IP address, home address, credit card numbers,’ he said.
‘A firestick contains an ‘operating system’ which can be infected by malicious software, which could then infect any device it is connected to – this may give a criminal access to other devices that are connected to your home network.
‘The person selling the firestick may even have included vulnerabilities or backdoors that allow them to access your network and collect network data.’
Dr Dempsey added that users should also be aware they could be funding organised crime.
In October the mastermind of a £1million operation providing an illegal Premier League streaming service was jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Steven Mills, 58, from Shrewsbury, ran the operation called Firesticks which he claimed had 30,000 subscribers over a five-year period.
This followed the jailing of five men in May who ran a cut-price Premier League streaming service for just £10 per month.
This compared to up to £80 per month for legally accessing all the games through Sky, BT Sport and Amazon.
Their operation involved 50,000 subscribers and they raked in more than £7million.
Amazon and Sky have been contacted for comment.
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