UK Considers Internet Ban On Illegal Downloaders

Surely just as unworkable as when the French proposed it?

Historically it has rarely been a good idea, but today it looks like we are planning to make huge changes to the way the Internet is policed in this country by doing that most worrying of things: following the French.

Under our noses the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has snuck on a sneaky addendum to the high profile Give-our-kiddie-winkles-five-hours-of-culture-a-week green paper that’s hitting the headlines today, namely: block illegal downloaders from being able to use the Internet. Yes, it’s that old Gaelic chestnut announced by French president Nicolas Sarkozy in November.

Like the French, the UK government wants to introduce a three strike system and users will be policed via their ISPs, though a decision has yet to be made whether ISPs will be allowed to share their data to stop users jumping ship to new packages.

Kindly described by me at the time as ‘piffle’ (is it egocentric to quote oneself? Or egocentric to say ‘oneself’ then quote oneself saying ‘oneself’? Then… oh dear) the same argument I made then still stands, so given that I’m clearly in the mood for self reference here it goes:

“You see while looking to replace the draconian measures which have file sharers handed life crushing fines and prison sentences is to be applauded there’s a huge civil rights issue here,” wisely explained the handsome TR News Editor, Gordon Kelly. “For a start, does this entail both home and office access? What about mobile broadband? (Unauthorised wireless piggybacking?) How does it work in a flat share? In a family? In a small business? Theoretically the move could shut down SOHOs, damage education and hurt the national economy. It’ll be back to the drawing board in 12 months…”

In fact, the only shift I’d make to this previous comment is to take onboard its British context and factor in the think tanks, committees, parliamentary voting, referendum consideration, referendum cancellation, secondary committee reshuffle, reframing think tank and THEN it’ll be back to the drawing board in ”three years”…


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