Strong reaction to UK piracy plans

After the UK government’s plan to “criminalise” Internet Piracy a number of ISPs have spoken out against the announced proposals, which include the ability to cut pirates’ internet access off altogether.

This has been proposed before, and the ISPs have spoken against it before, but it seems much less speculative this time. The basic argument the ISPs, and other groups, are putting forward is that cutting off illegal file-sharers risks cutting off innocent people, may breach internet users’ rights, and won’t actually stop determined file-sharers from carrying on anyway.

There will be problems over shared Internet connections, as many users may share one IP number and all will be identified as pirates. There are still many people who leave their wi-fi connection unsecured (just wander around town with any portable wi-fi device and you’ll usually pick a few up) and so they leave themselves open to anyone using their connection for illegal purposes while they face the prospect of disconnection.

As well as reaction from ISPs, MPs are also weighing in with opinions ranging from “the wrong conclusion” through “reckless and dangerous” to my favourite… “bizarre”.

The fact is that Internet piracy is so widespread and easy that any attempt to police and monitor it is going to be a huge task. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but it is going to be extremely difficult. Pirates can piggyback onto someone else’s connection or hide their identity so you have to wonder… does the Government even have the capacity to do this properly? I predict a few high profile “examples” will be made, but in general the sharing of illegal files will continue relatively unabated.

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