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FAST working on forensic tool to combat counterfieters

Simon Quicke

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is a not far away from rolling out a forensic tool that will enable Trading Standards to search systems to find unlicensed software.

John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST, said that it was developing an application that would provide the Trading Standards officers that entered premises with the ability to check systems for products that didn't tally with licensing documentation.

"Because Trading Standards is going into a business investigating a criminal offence it has to be beyond a shadow of a doubt [the evidence of wrong doing]," he said.

He added that a third-party was working with FAST to develop the tool and it hoped to have it ready in a few months to be able to arm Trading Standards with technology that could interrogate systems to reveal the true picture of software they were using.

Earlier this week FAST carried out its first raid in Becton, East London with Trading Standards using the powers laid out in Section 107A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, which came into force in April last year.

Under the powers in the Act Trading Standards are able to enter business premises they suspect of holding counterfeit product. The raid earlier this week was on a residential property and was made in conjunction with the Police, which provided the necessary warrants to search domestic property.

Speaking to MicroScope a couple of days ago Michala Wardell head of anti-piracy and licensing at Microsoft UK, said that it benefited everyone if the criminals were prevented from selling and using counterfeit goods.

"The more these dodgy traders are removed from the channel it will help keep a more buoyant channel," she said.

The powers that were made law ion April 2007 under Section 107A have taken time to filter through as the enforcement bodies have got to grips with ways to use the law but there has been an increased amount of anti-piracy activity this year as FAST along with the Business Software Alliance start to use powers given to those protecting intellectual property by the government.

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