The Hendon Mob

Hendon Mob Threatens Lawsuit Against Polish Finance Ministry

Citing an illegal scraping of data from its company servers, the Hendon Mob online poker results database and its owner, Alexandre Dreyfus, have threatened a lawsuit against the Polish Finance Ministry.  According to Dreyfus, Hendon Mob technicians tracked an ongoing hacking of the website which began in late December and continued until exposed by Dreyfus and his site on Monday.

hendon-mob-logoAccording to Dreyfus, who purchased the extensive Hendon Mob site and database in 2013 for $3 million, at least eight different individuals conducted an ongoing scraping of Hendon Mob results from December 29th through January 18th, targeting the results of Polish poker players.  The eight suspect accounts which conducted the online scraping of results originated from four IP addresses associated with mf.gov.pl, the Polish Finance Ministry’s online home.

Dreyfus erupted online in a series of quotes targeted at the Polish ministry and its head, Jacik Kapica, threatening action against the Polish governmental agency for its actions, which Dreyfus asserts violate longstanding European Union directives.  Some sample Tweets from Dreyfus’s @alex_dreyfus account:

As Dreyfus noted, in a communication to FlushDraw, “This is a breach of our terms and conditions, and very clearly against a EU directive. So we want to fight about the fact that its illegal (for a government, a company or whoever to steal OUR data and use it).”  Dreyfus also noted to FlushDraw that in total, the bot allegedly employed by the Polish agency “crawled more than 250,000 players profiles” before it stopped after Dreyfus’s exposure of the scraping. The second of the three quotes above is every bit as intriguing as the first.  In his ongoing social-network attacks aimed at the Polish Finance Ministry, Dreyfus asserted that Hendon Mob technicians discovered the scraping operation almost immediately after it started on December 29th, and altered the Mob databases to feed the scraping bots bogus tournament results.  Such results-oriented online sites have employed such tactics for years in an effort to keep their work from being scraped for use on rival sites as well. Dreyfus also noted, in his communication with FlushDraw, that even the legitimate results commingled in whatever the Polish government agency might have scraped will have little real value.  The Polish authorities who undertook the results scraping may well be trying to identify large live and online poker wins by Polish citizens, to verify the proper payment of income tax on winnings. However, as Dreyfus commented to FlushDraw, the listed “HendonMob results are 100% only live results in land-based casinos, which funny enough are not taxable by the Polish government (except [those few events] outside EU), so the [relevancy of the scraped data] is very limited.” Kapica or another official from the Polish ministry published an official disclaimer about the incident, which drew a quick response from Dreyfus:

When Kapica still declined to acknowledge the scraping operation, Dreyfus did just that, detailing several of the bot-using scrapers and the exact addresses they used while logged on. Dreyfus noted that roughly 200,000 of the player profiles were scraped from February 29th through January 1st, in a year-end operation.

It remains to be seen how successful Dreyfus, who also owns the Global Poker Index, would be in a lawsuit against the Polish government.  Similar clandestine operations have been undertaken by governments the world over, and even when presented with proof, courts have been loath to force said governments to pay proper compensation to their victims.

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