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Anger At U.K. Web Cutoff Plan

Anger At U.K. Web Cutoff Plan

In the original Digital Britain plan, published earlier this summer, government watchdog Ofcom had until 2012 to consider technical means to catch file sharers – and whether such measures were necessary.

However, now the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), run by Lord Mandelson, considers that “too long to wait.” Interestingly, this new decision comes weeks after Mandelson had dinner with media mogul David Geffen. He’d also previously met with the head of Universal Music.

What’s now being proposed, and will go before Parliament, would see repeat offenders kicked off the Net. And that’s managed to anger both politicians and ISPs, who don’t want to have to police their customers.

Andrew Heaney, director of regulation for TalkTalk, told the BBC:

"Disconnecting alleged offenders will be futile given that it is relatively easy for determined file-sharers to mask their identity or their activity to avoid detection."

One MP, Liberal Democrat Don Foster, pointed out:

"There are many families whose children, unbeknown to them, might be illegally downloading but now their own access could be put in jeopardy by Lord Mandleson’s proposals."

But is it legal? Some think not. Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, told the Guardian:

"This proposal fundamentally reverses the onus of proof. It establishes systemic accusation. It is fraught with technical impossibility, it invites circumvention and creates a major online conflict between rights holders and users. And these are fundamental rights that are being violated."

With all the outrage floating around, it’ll be interesting to see what happens when it comes to a vote in Parliament later this year.

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