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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Blocking your broadband access?

Has the world gone mad? The latest is that anyone caught illegally downloading songs or software will have their broadband access removed or blocked!

God, isn't this Big Brother state lovely? A real friend in need eh? I'd rather have my goolies lopped off than have my Internet connection severed! Ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but it is something that creates a strong feeling among many people not just myself.

In an article entitled "Government details proposed filesharing crackdown" we are informed that "The government has confirmed it is considering tough new measures to tackle illegal filesharing, possibly even cutting off the internet connections of repeat offenders". Well I never!

A bit Draconian isn't it? Why not come up with some punishments that actually fit the crime? If people are illegally downloading files, it's because (a) there are no barriers to stop them, and/or (b) it's considered morally permissible by many peopel to do so. Why not introduce legislation first rather than having a knee jerk respobse to a global problem?

As was stated in the article, tinkering with or cutting off a person's broadband access was ruled out in the government's Digital Britain report released on ly a couple of month's ago in June.

"In the report, the then communications minister, Lord Carter, said illegal filesharers should receive letters warning them their activities could leave them open to prosecution. If that failed to reduce piracy by at least 70%, Ofcom would have the power to call on internet service providers to introduce "technical measures" to combat piracy. The most draconian penalty considered at the time was slowing down persistent filesharers' broadband connections."

This was at least a reasonable attempt to combat a growing problem especially when you take into account the wider problem of artists and creative people in general being unable to collect well earned royalties for their creative endeavours.

They are right when they say that the government's response is a complete farce and completely out of sync with what other people feel is a normal response to this problem. As they say,

"Digital rights groups condemned the move. Calling it a "knee-jerk reaction", Jim Killock, the executive director of the Open Rights Group said: "Suspension of internet access would restrict people's fundamental right to freedom of expression. It would also fly in the face of the government's policy of universal broadband access."

And they are right when they say this a breach of the fundamental right of freedom of speech?

Just as silly is the government's idea of getting the ISPs to shoulder the costs and the responsibility of policing their customers!

What will the UK government do next I wonder? Charge you for breathing "British air"? Remove your right to vote for watching too much Coronation Street? Remove your invalidity benefit for not reading the last Labour Manifesto?

I repeat - has the world gone mad?

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