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UPDATE UK Gov to Require Court Order for Illegal ISP File Sharer Disconnection

Posted: 22nd Oct, 2009 By: MarkJ
The UK government could be about to water down its proposals to tackle repeated illegal p2p broadband file sharing by automatically disconnecting "suspected" abusers from their ISP. New comments made by the Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw, state that "there would need to be a court order for any of the technical measures" and a right to appeal.

That would effectively amputate the ability of Rights Holders to mandate for mass disconnections (costs too much to do), which many have argued to be futile because the evidence is unreliable (easy to disconnect legitimate users by mistake) and it also goes against basic freedoms. Personal details would also gain greater protection and not be immediately passed on to Rights Holders.

The move follows an intensive anti-disconnection campaign by many consumer groups, ISPs and various other organisations. TalkTalk recently added to the debate by highlighting just how easy it is to use somebody else’s home wireless (Wi-Fi) network to make an illegal download (here).

However, though the news is positive, it is still somewhat academic until the final policy surfaces in this year’s Queens Speech. It’s also worth nothing that there are other technical measures on the plate, such as limited access to specific p2p websites and or speed restrictions; requiring a court order before an ISP could impose any of those might present some new and rather different problems (the ISP is not allowed to control its own service?).

UPDATE - 23rd October 2009

Maybe it isn't good news:

TalkTalk's Dontdisconnect.us website noted:

"Closer inspection of what the Secretary of State said suggests he is simply referring to the process rights holders will have to go through to get the details of suspected of copyright infringers. Having got the information they will still be in a position to compel ISPs to disconnect or throttle alleged offenders without having to go back to the courts."
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