How UK Government Spun 136 People Into 7 Million Illegal File Sharers

The BBC reports on how the UK government turned a single survey in which 136 people indicated they file shared to claim that there are seven million file sharers in the country. Similar exaggerations occured in Canada earlier this year when the Conference Board of Canada relied on a 2006 Pollara survey that extrapolated data from 1,200 people to claim that there are 1.3 billion unauthorized downloads in Canada each year.


  1. David Collier-Brown says:

    And the 136 didn’t even say they were illegally sharing
    They presumably included people like myself downloading Solaris and Linux, with the express consent of the owners!


  2. So what is a more honest figure?
    11.6% of households was inflated to 16.3%, pretty much because the researchers felt like it. Next 6.7 million was rounded up. The article doesn’t elaborate on the accuracy of a 1176 sample size survey, maybe a real statistician can elaborate? Would that be within 10% 19 times out of 20 or what?

    Obviously the original study didn’t provide a big enough figure (3.9m) so they simply inflated it to match their expectations.