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Beware where you watch football. It is not as safe as you think.

By Tony Attwood

As you may well know, (and telling the world about it is by far the best thing the Guardian has done in recent years), if you live in Britain then you are under surveillance.   You might be monitored in real time, you might be watched if you are allowing your pic to be transmitted while on line, your emails are collected and stored, and your phone calls are certainly compromised.

This background is relevant because City of London police have added another layer to this total surveillance by starting to take a serious interest in people who are watching unlicensed football streaming sites.  And they are not limiting their work to London.  They are covering the UK – and it seems some other countries too.

Now I mention this because several readers of Untold wrote in suggesting that non-BT Sprout sites could be used to see Arsenal matches which are sold to the anti-Arsenal digital broadcaster.  I’d like to ensure that everyone is made aware of the danger of watching such sites.

With the oddity that these operations are known for, they’ve called it “Operation Creative” (which it certainly isn’t) and it comes under the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).  Their focus is what they choose to call IP related crime.

PIPCU track who is watching sites showing unlicensed football which probably means that they track the IP addresses of users (ie the computer in question – which leads on to all sorts of other information.)  They don’t confirm what they call their variety of “tactical approaches”, so they don’t admit it, but since the information is there, it would be very odd if they didn’t take it.

Indeed PIPCU have started replacing adverts for the sites that offer unlicensed football.   Some of the adverts even say that the computer user is on a “Watch List.”  If you would like to know the implications of all this, the the first few chapters of “1984” by George Orwell will make it clear.

PIPCU have a list of getting on for 100 sites that they consider to be sites that infringe copyright – a list which is formed by companies complaining to PIPCU.  The list of sites however remains secret.  Which is a bit like saying, “we know these people who watch these channels are breaking English law, but we are not going to tell you which sites we are monitoring, so that you can avoid them.  No, we would rather catch you watching the programme, so we can justify our existence and our use of tax payer’s money to help protect football clubs owned by oil rich states and oil rich businessmen.”

No it is not like saying that.  It is saying that.  Prevention – which used to be part of the police’s job, is out of the window.  Protecting the rights and the image of the mega rich is in.

The work of the PIPCU has backfired however, because when they started to block some content on sites, it got replaced by malware, which potentially then infected the police computers.  PIPCU won’t confirm this of course.

Meanwhile it seems that the number of food based pubs that are showing Sky and BT Sprout is in decline, as they feel that such programming attracts the wrong sort of people to their pub.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers has reported that the proportion of pub landlords with a sports subscription has declined since 2003, and continues to decline.  Sky has countered this decline by dramatically upping the price over the years – it goes up again by another 5% this season.

However the police are also involved in trying to stop pubs from showing matches from European satellites – even though the courts ruled that this activity was quite legal.

The choices are declining, and the monopoly suppliers are moving in.

Which leaves an alternative.

You remember that FA Cup thing that Arsenal won for the first time in 20,000 years back in May?   Well it starts again on 16 August, so you could actually go and watch an FA Cup match and then, if you want, nip down the pub (if you can find one) to watch Arsenal play Palace.

It’s the extra preliminary round.   The games are…

1 Whickham v Bacup & Rossendale Borough

2 Guisborough Town v Armthorpe Welfare

3 Seaham Red Star v Liversedge

4 Jarrow Roofing Boldon CA v Eccleshill United

5 Bridlington Town v Whitley Bay

6 North Shields v Pontefract Collieries

7 Silsden v Consett

8 Shildon v Crook Town

9 Billingham Synthonia v Durham City

10 Thackley v Albion Sports

11 Holker Old Boys v Ashington

12 Northallerton Town v Colne

13 Hebburn Town v West Allotment Celtic

14 Glasshoughton Welfare v Knaresborough Town

15 Pickering Town v Washington

16 Newton Aycliffe v Garforth Town

17 Bishop Auckland v Sunderland RCA

18 Nelson v West Auckland Town

19 Newcastle Benfield v Penrith

20 Marske United v Billingham Town

21 Tadcaster Albion v Barnoldswick Town

22 Morpeth Town v Dunston UTS

23 Cammell Laird v West Didsbury & Chorlton

24 Nostell MW v Stockport Sports

25 Parkgate v Congleton Town

26 1874 Northwich v Maine Road

27 Glossop North End v AFC Blackpool

28 St Helens Town v Atherton Collieries

29 Rochdale Town v Runcorn Linnets

30 Bootle v Runcorn Town

31 AFC Liverpool v Squires Gate

32 Barton Town Old Boys v Abbey Hey

33 AFC Emley v Ashton Athletic

34 Alsager Town v Winterton Rangers

35 Wigan Robin Park v Maltby Main

36 Winsford United v Athersley Recreation

37 Rocester v Stafford Town

38 Walsall Wood v Heath Hayes

39 Blaby & Whetstone Athletic v Harborough Town

40 Heather St Johns v Coventry Sphinx

41 Kirby Muxloe v Wolverhampton Casuals

42 Stourport Swifts v Lye Town

43 Causeway United v Cradley Town

44 Bolehall Swifts v Dudley Town

45 St Andrews v Tipton Town

46 Bromsgrove Sporting v Bewdley Town

47 Boldmere St Michaels v Desborough Town

48 Shawbury United v Continental Star

49 Ellistown & Ibstock United v Studley

50 Black Country Rangers v Lichfield City

51 AFC Wulfrunians v Alvechurch

52 Coleshill Town v Nuneaton Griff

53 Sporting Khalsa v Pegasus Juniors

54 Wellington v Ellesmere Rangers

55 Atherstone Town v Brocton

56 Gornal Athletic v Westfields

57 Heanor Town v Long Eaton United

58 Shirebrook Town v Loughborough University

59 Quorn v Bottesford Town

60. Shepshed v Dunkirk

62 Clipstone VS Harrowby United
63 Holwell Sports VS Graham St Prims
64 Thurnby Nirvana VS Lincoln Moorlands Railway
65 Arnold Town VS Basford United
66 Retford United VS Stapenhill
67 Handsworth Parramore VS Oadby Town
69 Peterborough Northern Star VS Team Bury
70 Mildenhall Town VS Gorleston
71 Kirkley & Pakefield VS Ely City
72 Boston Town VS Walsham Le Willows
73 Norwich United VS Deeping Rangers
74 Great Yarmouth Town VS Huntingdon Town
75 Sleaford Town VS Wisbech Town
77 Newmarket Town VS Fakenham Town
78 Yaxley VS Godmanchester Rovers
79 Diss Town VS Holbeach United
80 Clapton VS Bowers & Pitsea
81 Colney Heath VS Southend Manor
82 Halstead Town VS St Margaretsbury
84 FC Romania VS Haverhill Rovers
86 Takeley VS London Tigers
87 Whitton United VS Eton Manor
88 London Colney VS Woodbridge Town
89 Wivenhoe Town VS Enfield 1893
90 Sporting Bengal United VS FC Clacton
91 Waltham Forest VS Hoddesdon Town
92 Ilford VS Saffron Walden Town
93 Tower Hamlets_ VS Felixstowe & Walton United
94 Haverhill Borough VS Barking
95 Basildon United VS Stanway Rovers
96 Hadleigh United VS Sawbridgeworth Town
97 Cockfosters VS Hullbridge Sports
98 Haringey Borough VS Hertford Town
99 Welwyn Garden City VS Hadley
100 Hatfield Town VS Baldock Town
101 Sileby Rangers VS Hillingdon Borough
102 Tring Athletic VS Holmer Green
103 Staines Lammas VS Bedfont Sports
104 Harefield United VS Crawley Green

If you have never been to a game at this level, you should try it.  It really is fun.  Drew and I did a whole series of these games last season, and it really was worthwhile.

The books

The complete Arsenal Anniversary series is to be found on the Arsenal History Society site.

19 comments to Beware where you watch football. It is not as safe as you think.

  • David Taylor

    That is only part of the FA Cup draw. There are 184 games on 16th August not all of them in the North and Midlands as on your list.

  • oldgroover

    You’re probably much betting informed than me on this issue, but my understanding was that although it’s illegal to broadcast (stream) these sports, it’s not illegal to watch (something to do with not file sharing as on BitTorrent), but It’s worth keeping each other informed on this. I’m not surprised that there has been some action against the streamers, and I suppose they’ll all be shut down eventually, or close voluntarily due to no revenue from ads because the police have clamped down on the advertisers. So it’ll be back down the pub then.

  • Sam

    I want to write a note which is not related to football. But I’ve known this site to be frequented by quite good natured guys and have seen many conversations on a variety of topic. So hopefully this humanitarian and non-political message will be tolerated.

    I am quite saddened by the events in Gaza. There are some mind-numbing images coming in of the destruction and death, especially to very very young kids that breaks my heart. You would ask, why Gaza, why not Syria etc, are you anti-semistist?

    The answe r is that Syria is currently uncontrollable by the West. We cannot deal with the barbarians at either sides without sending in our military which Western coutnries won’t do. But Israel can be very much forced to reduce the violence on the Palestinians if Western countries force it to- just by sanctions and rebuke by its close supporters such as US, UK etc. There is actually a possibility for the West to do something to stop the slaughter as Israel is a modern capitalist economy and wouldnt like to be isolated compared to the despots in Iran, Iraq etc who simply dont care!

    I am not saying Israel is bad, Arabs are good, or vice versa. They have had a bloody history since the Zionist movement displaced thousands of Palestinians in pre-1947 to create the state of Israel and since then both sides keep fighting and pointing fingers at each other. But as far I can see, the violence needs to stop now! Israel, which claims itself to be a modern, peacful, democratic nation, needs to take the higher ground and not respond to isolated rocket attacks from Hamas which generally do it little harm given the US financed missile defence system. Ofcourse it lost a lot more soldiers by the invasion (around 60 soldiers on last count) then the 3 Israelis killed by the Hamas rockets in 2014. However, the death toll of Palestinians, a vast majory upto 80%-90% being innocent civilians, and quite a few of being kids and women is unjustifiable by any account! Unless ofcourse the intention is to batter them into submission and displace them, which would be unbecoming of a peaceful nation like Israel.

    Also, there can only be a long term solution if either Palestinians get a nation of their own which is free of Israeli blockades or illegal settlements. Or Palestinians can be absorned into one single state of Isral where jews and Arabs both have equal rights, unlike the restriction on voting and free movement applied to all Israeli Arabs. (i.e. Arabs which are citizens of Israel, not of Palestine)

    Please, may I ask every one of you readers here to write to your MPs and take positive action so that this slaughter can be stopped?

    Also, please donate generously for the rebuilding of Gaza (Christian Aid link below). They urgently need food, water and medicine. Remember, young kids are needlessly dying, they have never killed anyone or plotted to kid anyone. Just think of your own children, how would you feel if your kids were bombarded and killed?

  • DR

    I doubt the creation of a Palestinian country would stop this now, they’re too involved with killing each other and it would just go down as ‘war’ instead of slaughter if they had their own country. Nothing we can do. I doubt there’s anything our politicians can do. It’s awful and if you think you can make a difference, go for it, just don’t be too surprised when it carries on for a lot longer.

    Also, I’m guessing there is more of a grey area when it comes to games that aren’t shown in Britain i.e. if there is no intellectual property to steal then it cannot be stolen, like 3 pm kickoffs.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    There are certain things that need to given a very wide berth. Especially in a football blog and particularly in light of Tony’s article above .
    In medical terms I would say at least twice stethoscope distance !
    If its a ten foot pole for you , so be it !
    In the meantime , here are the jokes …
    http://www.dilbert.com/2014-07-29/

  • finsbury

    Wise words as always from Brickfields @ 5.16

    Perhaps the time has now arrived when the tech. has evolved and after testing (on streaming sites?) the broadcasters who only recently brought into their inflated rights (inflated costs relative to the evolution in telecommunications?*) are ready restrict access to their own streams?

    *I’m not complaining at the extra income for AFC: Sanchez!!!!

  • finsbury

    Corr: bought > brought

  • Gf60

    Right at the end of a programme on BBC Radio 4 recently, there was a discussion about the obscene cost of entry into Premiership football matches where the cheapest price of £60 or £100 per game is not uncommon.

    An elderly chap being interviewed said he could recall arriving at the turnstiles many years ago where the attendant greeted him with, “That will be ten quid, mate”.

    “What?!” the old chap said “I could get a woman for that!”

    Without batting an eyelid, the man at the turnstile retorted, “Not for 45 minutes each way with a brass band and a meat pie in the interval, you wouldn’t!”

  • Gf60 fortunately you can still get into the Ems for £10 for League Cup games and a below average price for games against the lesser lights of the Premier League.

    But I’m with you on a campaign for cheap seats for the elderly.

  • Elad

    Hi,

    Let me first say that I’m from Israel, and I completely disagree with you, Sam. I believe that the facts that you mentioned are not correct. I’ll try to present sources that contradict you.
    First, the Zionist movement did not displace the natives (which did not call themselves Palestinian yet). Some of the history can be read here [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Arab%E2%80%93Israeli_War]. It was agreed by both the UK (who ruled this land before 1948) and the UN that Jews are entitled to live here. When we declared independence, a coalition of Arab states invaded Israel. The coalition lost.(Please ask yourself what would have happened to EVERY Jew living in Israel had they won). As a result of that war, many Arabs fled into Jordan – where they are the majority, Egypt – Sinai and Gaza, and Lebanon – where they aren’t even civilians (not even today).
    In response, Arab states (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Yemen, Persia) were not safe any more for Jews, which fled as well. Many Jews from north Africa went to France, and much more found their home here in Israel. My parents were such immigrants. My grandfather fled to Israel from Morocco after being shot at. So, the displacement was mutual.

    The second thing, I want to touch two words you said: “slaughter” and “isolated” [rocket attacks].
    I’ll start with the easier one, about the rocket attacks. You can find here a list of the attacks [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel,_2014]. More than 3000 rockets were launched into Israel! These are no isolated rocket attacks!
    * And even if it is, if Scotland fires two rockets a month, with London as their terminal address, is it OK?
    * And that we built a rocket defense system (the US helped finance. Plus, they get to share it) that protects our people. Isn’t it what a government should do with the money it has? Did you know that Israel passed concrete into Gaza, to help with civil projects? Do you know what happened? Please see this video [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FxxArkYKlE]. Hamas took all the concrete and used it to build tunnels, instead of investing the people of Gaza.

    What you said about the Israeli Arabs is a complete lie. Arabs have the same rights as Jews in Israel. They have the right to vote, to be elected (there are some Arab parliament members as well), freedom of movement, you name it. One of my co-workers is Arab, he’s from Jerusalem, and we both work for a big software company.

    Next, Slaughter. Our soldiers are dying because our pilots cannot guarantee the completion of a mission without unnecessary Palestinian casualties. You can listen to what Col. Richard Kemp said in the UN: [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX6vyT8RzMo].
    And read statistics at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli%E2%80%93Palestinian_conflict#Fatalities_1948.E2.80.932011].

    One (before) last thing, is Hamas. It’s an Islamic terrorist organization not different from Al Qaeda [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas_Covenant]. There are many videos that show their cruelty: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J08GqXMr3YE] [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3c5uWIDBXY], there are more. I tried to find what they did to Fatah after they won the Gaza elections but could not find. It was shown in Israeli television, and… killing people and dragging their corpses, tied to their cars, in the streets of Gaza is not a way to die.

    Calling to take steps against Israel is indeed hypocrite and anti-Semitic. The UK and the US did worse things in Afghanistan and Iraq, but no steps were taken against them. Russia just took Krimm over from Ukraine! why not call for actions there as well? Why is Israel always singled out as the main villain?
    I’d really like to read your answer. Please believe me when I say that many Israelis would be glad to put down our weapons and live peacefully alongside Arab states. Unfortunately, war is forced upon us by Islamic extremists who do not accept our presence in the middle east.

  • bjtgooner

    Very good Brickfields! 🙂

  • Gfromgirton

    I feel this artical was kind of meant for myself as well as others. I’m very happy to learn new things and I always do from this site

  • I have published these posts on the awful situation in Gaza, as of course the situation there is of far more importance in the overall range of things, than football.

    But I would ask all readers to remember that the purpose of this forum is to debate and report on football from an Arsenal perspective. With respect to all with feelings on this matter (and of course I have my own) I would ask that the debate is continued elsewhere. There are many other forums far more suited to this than Untold.

  • H Bo

    Good article Tony and totally agree time and place and all that but just for those that are concerned with big brother try hidemyass.com it basically hides your ip so you can visit blocked sites and stream without being seen.
    On the actual footie can’t wait until I get to the ground.
    RED ARMY

  • oldgroover

    H Bo
    Does installing a VPN (like hidemyass) change your IP address. If so could this cause problems with your IPS etc?
    I’ve been considering this for some time due to the excessive BiTorrent downloads I do, and next year we’re going to have to stop.

  • Quincy

    The reference to “1984” hit the nail on the head. It’s not just electronic ‘surveilance’, but manipulation, lying, blackmail and criminality, plain and simple, by organisations that call themselves defenders of Democracy (note the capital ‘d’), Liberty, blah blah blah.

    Not releasing the names of the websites is criminal, immoral and illegal. If you then watch one of these streams, they take that as an excuse to target you for ‘surveilance’. Like people who merely visit the webpage for Tor are target and classified as terrorists. Orwellian indeed. The public must reveal all to shadowy, unaccountable and non-elected individuals and organisations, but when politicians go about committing the most revolting crimes, miraculously the files are spoilt or go missing. Welcome to the second Dark Ages.