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France Debates An Anti-Piracy Bill That Could Cut Off Internet Access For Offend

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This week the French parliament is starting to debate an anti-piracy bill, a pet project of president Nicolas Sarkozy. Among its provisions are the creation of a state surveillance agency to monitor online use, and those who download illegally losing Internet access for up to a year.

Offenders would initially receive an e-mail warning, then a registered letter. If they persist, their Internet access will be cut off, the Guardian reports.

It’s estimated that during 2006, one billion files were illegally downloaded in France, and a recently conducted poll discovered that 57% of 18-24 year-olds admitted to illegal downloads, while one in three French users had indulged in online piracy.

The senate has already passed the bill, but it will find a tougher time in parliament, where the issue of civil liberties will be contentious.