U.K. Downloaders May Face Access Ban


Computer_lineup According to a leaked document acquired by The Times, legislation is being drafted that would require ISPs to monitor all traffic and report on those who are downloading pirated media files.

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?

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6 comments

  1. Duane MacNeill

    each person should go out rent a copy of "V" for vendetta and listen to the message. if you think 1984 was just a movie…stand by…big brother is closer then you think.

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  2. Tim

    If the isp's are forced to do that then we just say goodbye to our ISP'S for a week. They will get the message then.The consumer speaks with their wallet!

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  3. Rick

    Didn't our fathers fight a war against facism and the nazi version of "kids taddle on your parents". A war that was to "gaurantee our freedom". Pooh Pooh on the British parliament and the greedy money mongering musicians and artists.

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  4. grizz

    This fight is larger that most think. Movie and record lables from the US are the main greedy trouble makers. They have lost many battles with protecting their copyrighted mat'l (most junk). They have bullied people who have not downloaded anything of theirs. Now they have lobbied for this crap of the ISP's to watch the net traffic. The fight is world wide, not just here in N.A.
    I don't feel it"s fair for all net users to suffer for the greed of big companies. ISP's should remain out of this, it's not their place to get involved. They supply the service- which they charge a lot of money for—that's all. Why should they( in the end we) have to pay for all the extra equipment and people to police the net.
    this is more than Big Brother taking more control, it's American greed.

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