The UK is merrily going down the same yellow brick road as many other jurisdictions. This report is from Technollama:
The air of inevitability surrounding three strikes legislation in the UK came to its fruition yesterday with the announcement by Lord Mandelson that the government will seek to pass legislation that will force intermediaries to disconnect users involved in file-sharing. I hate to say “I told you so”, but I have been harping about three strikes for a while. The blogosphere is already replete with replies to the new development, so I will not add my voice to the overwhelming condemnation of this step by directing readers to ORG and PanGloss.
This is something I missed. Apparently the British Prime Minister has declared that the Icelandic people are terrorists.
The UK has used anti-terrorism rules to take control of assets held in Britain by a troubled Icelandic bank. This is an awful example of how legislation is abused to enable it to do something it was never intended. It has also worsened the effects of the economic breakdown on ordinary Icelandic people.
In order to “help” him to see his mistake (which is costing them dearly in this time of economic turmoil) there is a website with a petition and lots of pictures of non-terrifying Islanders.
On Wednesday October 8th, the British Government invoked anti-terrorist legislation, which was in effect aimed at the people of Iceland. This devastating attack on our society was received with disbelief here in Iceland, where it turned a grave economic situation into a national disaster. The people of Iceland have always considered themselves great friends of the United Kingdom. Our nations have a long history of mutually beneficial trade and have been close allies in NATO and Europe.
Read more, sign the petition and check out the pictures. But above all point out to Mr Brown that he must be off his nut.
Virtual Law@LSE writes that BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse have all signed up to the Government’s new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on File Sharing. [BBC, Guardian, Telegraph]
The MOU means that the companies have to work to create a “significant reduction” in illegal filesharing. This may sound easy enough but spying on customers and accusing them of violating copyright law is not really good business – especially for companies whose business it is to sell faster (and more expensive) broadband. The ISP’s have in the MoU agreed to send out “informative letters” to customers whose accounts have been identified as being used for potential file sharing. But as Virtual Law@LSE writes:
It would appear many thousands of people will get letters from their ISPs telling them that the BPI has identified them as potentially being in breach of copyright. The ISPs should be careful here in terms of customer relations. It is never a good idea to tell a customer of your that someone believes them to be a copyright infringer. It will (a) suggest you are snooping on them (which to an extent is true), (b) suggests you are entitled to lecture them on their activities online and (c) suggests you are serving the interests of the BPI not their own customers.
In order to be able to send the letters to suspected file sharers the ISP’s must either monitor all data traffic or only monitor those who use unusually high amounts of broadband. Either way the ISP’s are uncomfortably close to violating peoples privacy. Maybe not in a legal sense and maybe they are acting within the limitations of their customer contracts but still tantamount to surveillence and a violation of privacy.
It is also a form of privatized regulation through technology which sits uncomfortably with the potential freedom that the technology enables…