The proposed law would thrust ISPs into the role of net-police, requiring them to institute a "three-strikes-you’re-out" policy whereby users found to be downloading pirated material would be given successively sterner warnings, resulting finally in an outright ban on internet access if they were caught a third time.
The draft has already raised deep concerns amongst the consumer privacy groups as well as with the country’s ISPs.
In order to comply with the law’s current wording, ISPs would have to inspect each packet of data crossing their networks, analyze the content it contains and then make an assessment as to whether the data belonged to an unauthorized download or not.
In the U.K., the Internet Service Providers Association has expressed doubts over which side of the privacy laws this kind of monitoring would place their members. They have also pointed out the enormous technical hurdle they would face in trying to implement such a system:
"ISPs are no more able to inspect and filter every single packet passing across their network than the Post Office is able to open every envelope," The Times quoted them saying.
There is also the question of individual responsibility to deal with. Since most internet access within households is shared – often via wireless networking – determining who the actual downloader was would prove difficult if not impossible.
Although there is no indication that the draft is about to become law in the immediate future, some bloggers feel that is has the smell of inevitability about it.
The idea of my ISP looking at all of my online activity gives me the creeps. On the other hand, I sometimes wish there was a way to monitor all drivers on the road for dangerous driving. Is this an invasion of privacy or the price we must pay to safeguard the rights of others?