EU busts thousands of counterfeit-peddling websites

The latest installment in the EU’s crackdown on websites selling counterfeit items has seen upwards of 20,500 domain names blocked.

The latest haul in the In Our Sites (IOS) operation represents a more than four-fold increase on last year’s tally in which 4,500 domain names were taken down, and dwarfs the 188 shuttered in 2014, the first year it was run.

IOS targets websites offering counterfeit goods, such as luxury products, sportswear, electronics, and pharmaceuticals, as well as online piracy via e-commerce platforms and social networks. This eighth operation – which took place on a single day of action (November 20) – benefited from a larger number of countries and brand owners getting involved.

The operation was facilitated by Interpol and run by Europol, the US National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Coordination Centre and law enforcement authorities from 27 EU member states.

“This excellent result shows how important and effective cooperation between law enforcement authorities and private-sector partners is, and how vital it is if we are to ultimately make the internet a safer place for consumers,” said Rob Wainwright, executive director of Europol.

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