The FBI and the Department of Justice are seeking a court order to force an Australian startup to hand over data about the identity of movie watchers and the payment information they used to watch a movie.
The FBI and Justice Department are seeking an order to require the online service, The MovieWatcher, to hand back information about the identities of movie-watchers and movie-ticket purchasers who used its service to watch stolen films.
The FBI says that as a result of the complaint, the movie-ticket payment information will be used for “predatory online criminal activities.”
The complaint, filed on Thursday, says The MovieWatcher is a service that allows people to pay for movies with bitcoins, an anonymous form of digital currency.
Movie watchers have to have a legitimate reason to watch films online, according to the complaint.
The complaint says the service offers “fraudulent” ways for movie-buyers to gain access to stolen movies.
Movie-ticket buyers, meanwhile, have to pay in bitcoins to be able to watch their ticket.
The complaint says that The Movie Watcher “has developed a system whereby the movie ticket payment information of movie purchasers is linked to the movie tickets purchased.”
The FBI says the FBI is seeking a search warrant to force The Movie Watcher to turn over the movie payment information.
The Movie watcher declined to comment on the complaint on Thursday.
The movie-trafficking complaint alleges that The New York-based company “used the service to identify, locate, and track movie-goers in Australia.”
The complaint also alleges that “the defendant’s services allowed criminals to gain unauthorized access to movie-going events and movie tickets.”
The MovieWerks website, which features a map of locations in Australia, says it “works with the FBI, the Australian Federal Police, the New Zealand Police Service, the United Kingdom Border Force, the UK Customs and Excise Service, and other law enforcement agencies to identify and assist with law enforcement investigations.”
The movie ticket payments complaint says TheMovieWerk was “part of a network of cyber criminals” who “obtained and accessed millions of movie tickets to the movies” through “stolen IP addresses, malware, and computer hacking techniques.”
The complaints alleges that the company has been “partnering with the Federal Government and other criminal organizations to steal copyright-protected content from movie-watching fans and movie ticket purchasers” and “encourages its users to steal movie tickets and movie data from moviegoing venues and movie theaters to benefit its illicit activities.”