Business internet Regs security surveillance & privacy

cleanternet – you know it makes sense #debill #deact

This video is doing the rounds. It helps you understand why the web filtering aspect of the Digital Economy Act is a very bad thing.

Business internet ofcom piracy Regs surveillance & privacy

Digital Economy Bill–Act–Farce continues beyond Parliamentary grave #DEAct #DEBill

In a continuation of the farcial speed that the Digital Economy Bill was rushed through into Law I’m told that Ofcom has already conducted two meetings with the 5 largest ISPs to discuss the implementation of the Code of Practice with a third planned for next Wednesday.

I’m also told that Ofcom has also met with 9 Music Industry Rights Holders and 5 from the movie making industry. Perhaps Ofcom could elaborate on this? If this is the case it seems hugely disproportionate in terms of representation. Hugely unfair in fact and feels very familiar with the way the Law was rushed through in the first place.

Despite what seems on the face of it to be a substantial consultation with Rights Holders no attempt appears to have been made to involve any small ISPs, the ISP Association, ISPA, or the London Internet Exchange, LINX. In fact the majority of the organisations that stand to lose out under the Digital Economy Act.

A threshold is likely to be applied in respect of which ISPs must comply with the DEA. This however has not been set yet and without it seems reasonable that all ISPs likely to be affected by it get a chance to participate in the discussion.

Being a reasonable minded person I am able to look at it from Ofcom’s perspective and observe that they have very little time to put together a Code of Practice around a hugely complex and controversial subject.  You might say Ofcom has been stitched up just as the ISPs have been. However in this case it just isn’t good enough. I think everyone concerned here should complain to Ofcom in the morning.

The Ofcom Switchboard number is 0300 123 3000 or 020 7981 3000. Ask for Ed Richards, Chief Executive.

Follow on note – check out these posts from Andrew Cormack, Chief Regulatory Adviser, JANET . He was at one of the meetings.

Business ofcom Regs

Digital Economy Bill – the month in review and what next #debill #ge2010

The last month has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride for broadband users, ISPs and anyone interested in basic liberties in the UK.

On Friday 19th March The Digital Economy Bill passed from the House of Lords to the Commons. The three readings in the Lords took most of the three months since Christmas. The Commons only spent a few days “deliberating” the Bill. The General Election and “wash-up” process meant that the Bill was effectively nodded through by the Labour and Conservatives.

This is the only time I have ever watched parliament online. I don’t know how many people were viewing the

broadband Business internet ofcom piracy Regs

Digital Economy Bill: Business Already Starting to Worry about the Effects #debill #digitalbritain

Customers want to know effects of Digital Economy Bill. Don’t we all?

I’m off to a meeting with a customer the week after next.  Nothing unusual in that of course.  In fact I like meeting customers. It gives me a chance to find out how we are doing.

This particular customer however provides in room internet services to hotels. They want to know how the Digital Economy Bill will affect them. The reality is that we won’t know until Ofcom has completed its work on the Code of Practice. It is right that they start looking at the subject now though because it does have the potential to harm them in a big way.

Customers downloading copyright material from the internet will be long gone by the time Rights Holders catch up with the ISP. In fact who is the Service Provider in this case?  Timico, who owns the infrastructure, or Timico’s customer who has the relationship with the hotel? Or is it the hotel, which has the relationship with the paying guest?  Hmm!

Business internet ofcom Regs

Royal Assent for Digital Economy Bill – we now need to move onto the Code of Practice for damage limitation #debill

The Queen nodded the Digital Economy Bill through last night, in keeping with her custom and practice. It seems that MPs have been getting above their station in taking a similar approach to get it passed into Law (my words not Her Majesty’s). 

It would appear that Stephen Timms has offered via twitter to arrange a session between ISPs and the Rights Holders:

“#DEBill Good dialogue, music/film people & Internet people, opposing views,could help find common ground. Much needed. Anyone interested?”

Business internet Regs

Information overload STOP #timmsguidetoIT #debill Stephen Timms Out of Parliament

We have to STOP.  The information society is grinding life to a halt.  There is so much good content out there on tinternet that I am drowning in it.

It is even becoming harder and harder to write relevant blog posts in a timely manner. Points that I might want to get across, links to useful websites etc etc etc have already been distributed, at the speed of light (or copper or air – we don’t all have fibre – believe it or not!) via twitter (mostly) and Facebook.

Business internet Regs

Digital Economy Bill will influence voting behaviour #debill #ge2010

Don’t you just love the internet.  Yesterday’s Digital Economy bill non debate has spawned some highly creative responses, which to a large extent goes to show why we should keep the internet free and open.

Did your MP turn up for the debate? – find out on

Also some highly illuminating stats on last night’s action can be found here.

Register opposition to the bill here.

I haven’t made my mind up how to vote yet in this Election. It is the hardest decision I have had to make of all the Elections I have voted in.  There is a groundwsell of opinion forming though that people might well vote against the Government that created this mess. This is despite the fact that the opposition by and large seems also hell bent on helping to make it a mess.

My vote will probably stay a secret but it would be interesting to hear others’ views on this.

broadband Business internet Regs

Rural Broadband: Mixed Messages for Outlying Communities #digitalbritain #ge2010

In an action (not so packed) Parliamentary session yesterday the Government dropped it’s plans for the 50 pence tax on phone lines. So that’s the money that was going to be used to fund rural broadband access gone then.

On the other hand they also dropped plans to hike tax on cider – so that rural dwellers can continue to drink themselves into oblivion over the fact that they can’t get broadband!  There is a perverse logic in there somewhere.

Business internet piracy Regs

Social Networking in action #debill

#debill actually made it to a trending topic on twitter today.  This reflects the huge amount of interest around the country on the subject of the Digital Economy Bill.

I watched it both on iPlayer and via Tweetdeck where I could see real time comments on what was being debated.  MPs inside the chamber were also following twitter – you could see them referring to their mobile phones whilst others were speaking.

I’ve actually changed my view on twitter since getting involved in #debill.  It is a hugely powerful medium and one that can spread messages globally very quickly.  For example one of my blog posts was retweeted by Jeff Pulver who has somewhere in the region of 355 thousand followers.  If you have a message to get across and push the right buttons twitter is huge.

Interestingly because #debill was a trending topic on twitter, ie one of the top topics being followed by people it also attracted its fair share of spam – people jumping on the bandwagon – notably today by people trying to flog iPad.

We are all still finding our way in this connected world.

PS there can’t have been more than 20 MPs in the house debating such an important subject – democracy in action. It is getting harder and harder to decide which way to vote.

Business internet ofcom piracy Regs

Stop UK Government From Breaking the Internet on April 6th #DEBill #digitalbritain

As a general principle and in support of the rule of law, nobody involved in the campaign process against the implementation of the Digital Economy Bill (DEB) supports the theft of someone else’s property as is the case when downloading a pirate copy of a music track. However, before we examine the history of the legislation, let’s take a reality check about where we are.

The cat is well and truly out of the bag. The downloading of copyrighted material is now so widespread and with faster and faster broadband and bigger and bigger hard drives it is never going to stop. Infringers will just move on to alternative means – encrypted P2P for example. On this basis all the hard work on the DEB is likely to be a complete waste of time. It is also very difficult to prove who has used a specific broadband connection to indulge in this copyright infringement; what’s more the burden of proof in this bill lies with the accused to prove themselves innocent. This is totally wrong and goes against all the principles of modern UK society.

Business internet ofcom piracy Regs

Report from “Bring Democracy to the Digital Economy Bill” reception at Westminster #debill #ldsavenet #digitalbritain

Just got back from the “Bring Democracy to the Digital Economy Bill” reception kindly sponsored by “Consumer Focus”. There was a great speaker line up. My shorthand is non existent but this is pretty much what was said. If not verbatim then it provides the gist and I’m happy to modify and if I have any of it wrong – but I don’t think I have.

Tom Watson MP
Opening remarks. Not against change per se – just against doing it without adequate scrutiny. DEB is a bad law.

John Grogan MP
The probability is that the PM will go to the Queen to seek dissolution of Parliament on the morning of 6th April. This is likely to be before the 2nd reading of the DEB has started in Commons!. There is no precedent for this!

Noted that at a similar event sponsored by BPI 5 or 6 lobbysists claimed ownership to clause 120A. There was clearly a lot of effort being put in. It is reasonable to expect that things are not considered in haste.

Stephen Timms and Jeremy Hunt have apparently agreed to a clause 18 amendment today but word is the Lib Dems are not going to sign up to it.

The process is going to be concertina’d to 1 hour in the Commons and 1 hour in the Lords.

Not many MPs will be around during the wash-up. Most will be out on the campaign trail. It is important to garner as much support as possible against this bill at this last minute. It won’t be end of world if this bill is delayed so that we can have a proper debate.

Jim Killock, Executive Director, Open Rights Group
20k people have written to their MP. 2 k people have emailed Harriet Harman. £12 – £14 k raised in one morning to pay for an advert protesting overt the lack of scrutiny in this bill. MPs should be asking themselves whether this bill is legitimate

Simon Milner, Director of Industrial Policy, BT
BT wants to see reduction in piracy – after all BT sells music online. However the company wants to see that the law is balanced and proportionate. In this case the Government views have been too influenced by the music industry. For example people will be cut off because they haven’t taken suitable steps to stop music piracy. This isn’t right and could be unenforceable in law. Consumers could be left with an unholy mess.

Andrew Heaney, Executive Director of Policy and Regulation, TalkTalk
Used the example of his mother. If one of mum’s neighbours hacked into her broadband connection she could be cut off without being able to resort to legal aid. She would have to prove she has taken reasonable steps to stop it. This would cost her money perhaps a few hundred pounds? This is disgraceful / shameful.

Andrew had spoke with Stephen Timms about this. His reply was “But we have to do something don’t we?”.

Scott Taunton, Managing Director, UTV Media GB
Future of local radio is at stake here. There is not enough time to scrutinise the bill properly. The Secretary of State will have the ability to turn off AM and FM frequencies & move people to DAB. There are 120 m analogue radios around the country. This debate has come late in the day. Up to 120 local radio stations could be left behind in the switch off. DAB was 1st broadcast in 1988 radio technology has moved on to better things. Ofcom records only 3% of population has dissatisfaction with radio so why are we doing this?

(Note I haven’t given the non ISP bits of the bill any thought but it does seem outrageous that the Secretary of State seems to be awarding himself powers left right and centre)

Lord Whitty, Chair, Consumer Focus
Lord Whitty had lost his voice and his place was taken instead by that would be Adam Scorer, Consumer Focus Director of reputation and impact, or short, campaigns.

“This is a wholly unsatisfactory process. The idea that consumer interest is served by ISPs policing by decree is more than a shame in what is otherwise a good DEB.”

To finish off I was told this evening that Stephen Timms and Jeremy Hunt (cons) have apparently agreed to a clause 18 amendment today and that the Lib Dems are not going to sign up to it.

At this point I don’t know which way it is going to swing. Watch this space.

PS both MPs speaking were impressive individuals – you should vote for them.

Engineer internet Regs

Google, deckchairs and Digital Economy Bill #debill

Paid a visit to Google in London on Friday morning. Fascinating offices. Refreshments available in reception whilst you checked yourself in and then breakfast from the breakfast bar afterwards.

I was there to meet Google’s regulatory bod, Luc Delany to discuss the company’s approach to the Digital Economy Bill. Google has a fairly light approach to regulation – the company claims to spend only 10% of what Microsoft spends on lobbying.

The Government, with it’s recent embarrassments, would do well to note that in the USA organisations have to disclose how much they spend on lobbying – down to individual lunches. It would be interesting to see how this mapped out in the UK in respect of the DEB stakeholders.

Of course clause 17 (or is it 18 now?) is the one that concerns Google. That’s the one that potentially gives Peter Mandelson powers to decide which websites are acceptable and which aren’t.

There is a feeling that we have all done everything that can be done on the DEB now, aside from last minute noises. We are now just waiting for judgement day. If the DEB does go ahead in its current form I will say that there is going to be one heck of a stink during and after the election.

I have to say that visiting Google is a pleasure. We played a bit of pool, I picked up an electric guitar and had a strum and spent some time in the surround vision version of Google Earth. It has a name but I can’t remember it. You stand inside a ring of large monitors and move a joystick to guide yourself around the world. Great.

Also chilled out in a deckchair for a bit (in the atrium – under the palm tree) before we both had to move on to other meetings. Life’s a beach.

One thing I didn’t realise is that much of the development of Google mobile operating system, Android, happens right there in the London offices. It made me proud to be a Brit (don’t often say that – I’m normally proud to be Welsh).

Business internet piracy Regs

UK Gov to block access to Google? Chinese to follow suit?

I note that Google has stopped censoring Chinese searches and is routing its traffic via servers in Hong Kong in order to be able to do this. One wonders whether the Chinese will take measures to block access to these servers!?

I wonder also whether the UK Government has considered blocking access to Google within these shores.  After all millions of people will be using the search engine to find out how they go about indulging in a bit of Music Piracy.  How to avoid detection.

When I do a search for anything using Google I get a list of websites that match my search criteria.  If I was a naughty boy and wanted to download free music in breach of the copyright laws, that Google search would probably contain information as to where I can get this music and probably a link to the relevant song/page. Surely this is wrong! Isn’t it?

Will the Home Secretary be using the new found powers he is awarding himself through the Digital Economy Bill to block UK access to Google and thus prevent this miscarriage of justice from happening?

This might sound a bit extreme but I think the scenario shows the absurdity of what UK gov is trying to do with the Digital Economy Bill.

Business internet piracy Regs

120A kicked into touch but Digital Economy Bill still likely to cost ISPs half a billion #digitalbritain

The Digital Economy Bill passed through the House of Lords this week after completing its Third Reading. During the debate the Government kicked Lib Dem amendment 120A into touch.

This was the one on blocking of websites illegally containing copyright content and which caused an uprising of the internet industry last week. Lord Young speaking for the Government commented that “the clause was not enforceable and was incompatible with the Technical Standards Directive”.

The Government did commit to proposing a compromise clause that could give the Secretary of State power to “consult on blocking measures”. The debate in full can be found here.

In laymans terms this potentially gives Lord Mandelson (or whoever sits in that seat in a couple of months time) the ability to take power into his own hands… hmm… Not much better than 120A was suggesting in many people’s minds. These things are best handled by court judges, as indeed is the current position in Law.

The First Reading of the Bill in the House of Commons also took place this week and the date for the Second Reading is yet to be confirmed. As I have previously mentioned on a few occasions now due to the shortage of Parliamentary time before the election the Bill is likely to undergo very little scrutiny at the Second Reading before the front benches consider the Bill during wash-up (stitch-up).

Interesting to note that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has also updated its Digital Ecomomy Bill Impact Assessment. The report estimates a cost to ISPS of £290-500 million with a benefit to rights holders of £1,700 million.

The report also admits that the costs and benefits of Clause 18 have not been subject to prior consultation due to the limited time between the introduction of the clause and the finalisation of the impact assessment. In laymans terms what this says is that they haven’t really considered whether this part of the DEB is worth the effort.

A recently leaked Music Industry letter to Rights-Holders discussed the fact that when it comes to pursuing online copyright infringers any cost sharing that might be agreed would be split 75% Music Industry/25% ISPs. I can now see where they got this figure from. Foot – Gun – Bang.  They are after 50/50 share of the costs which on the face of it doesn’t seem fair. In fact if the RH benefits is almost £2Bn as suggested and the costs to ISPs are £0.5 Billion there seems to me to be a strong case for RHs to pay all the costs as is, (and I might be wrong here) currently the law.

The perceived benefits to Rights-Holders has also to be taken with a degree of caution here. What they are saying is that if you stop people from downloading music (& movies etc) illegally they will start paying for it instead. It also presupposes that the measures under consideration will actually stop copyright infringement. During the Panorama programme on the BBC this week it was clearly suggested it wouldn’t.

Meanwhile the UK Performing Rights Society for Music, which represents songwriters, composers and music publishers, announced this week a 2.6 per cent rise in annual revenues to £623m and a growth in online revenues from legal licensed digital music services from 72.7 per cent to £30.4m.


End User internet piracy Regs

3 strikes has resulted in increased illegal downloading #digitalbritain

I caught this article in Sam Knows telling us that in France the number of people downloading content illegally has increased since the 3 strikes law was introduced.  One wonders if it has encouraged people to do more of it,  knowing that they can get away with it twice even if they are caught!!

End User internet media piracy Regs

Music Industry piling on the punches in final round of DEB big fight #digitalbritain

In the press today is a report that says “The growth of illegal file-sharing could cost European countries 1.2m jobs and 240bn euros (£215bn) by 2015”.

“the UK’s creative industries experienced losses of 1.4bn euros in 2008 because of piracy.”

Really, so where did that 1.4bn go? It certainly didn’t go into bank accounts (otherwise the ratios would be really healthy), it hasn’t been spent in the shops (or they wouldn’t be suffering) and its not been invested in anything (because that amount of investment would have been noticed?).

The basic maths works something like this:

Business internet piracy Regs

Lib Dems Spring Conf Emergency Motion against amendment 120A carried unanimously #digitalbritain

People closely following the Amendment 120A debate at the Lib Dem Spring Conference will already know that the Emergency Motion was carried unanimously (apart from one vote I understand).

I am reporting it here for the record and following on from yesterday’s short post announcing it. You can read a bit more on the Lib Dem website here.

The Digital Economy Bill is going right to the wire I feel.

Business internet piracy Regs

Lib Dems to vote on Digital Economy Bill amendment 120A at spring conf this weekend #digitalbritain

An Emergency Motion against the Digital Economy Bill amendment 120A has been tabled at the Liberal Democrats Spring Conference in Manchester this weekend.

Obviously I’ll keep us all updated but it may make next week quite interesting on the Parliamentary front if the motion is carried.

Business piracy Regs

BPI thinks MI5 could scupper bits of Digital Economy Bill

The music industry thinks its prospects within the Digital Economy Bill are still good to middling with concerns over website blocking voiced by MI5 seen as a potential scupper.

A weekly newsletter sent by Music Industry representatives BPI to stakeholders such as Sony Music, Warner Brothers and EMI Music also discusses the results of a TalkTalk sponsored survey that finds that “71% of 18 – 34 year olds would continue to infringe copyright, in spite of the Bill provisions, and would use “undetectable methods” to do so”.

There is also the suggestion that MI5 might have helped pay for the survey!

Business internet piracy Regs

3 weeks to go to an election announcement is bad news for ISPs and democracy #DigitalBritain

It might be my naivety but I was surprised nay shocked at the ISPA Council meeting today. You must read all this post.

The informed betting is that the General Election is going to be on May 6th. The betting for the dissolution of Parliament is either the 1st or 8th April. Normally notice given is 6 weeks but I’m told that because the Labour Party is (allegedly) short of funds they only want a 4 week election campaign – eat yer heart out US of A. My bet is the 8th because they will all want a nice Easter break before the pitched battle to come.

The Government has confirmed that the Budget will be on 24th March (at 12.30pm for the detail minded – warm the TV up soon). Normally we might expect a week to be given for the media to digest and comment about what will presumably be a budget pitched to give us all as much of a feelgood factor as possible after the last year or two of financial hell/instability/crisis/disaster/nightmare/worry/prosperity (delete as appropriate).

Business internet piracy Regs

Industry unites against 120A #DigitalBritain

News is distributed so quickly these days (thanks to us ISPs) that by the time us ISPs finish doing the day job and get around to writing up the blog it almost seems like old news already. However in the interest of completeness (ish) of content on on the subject of the Digital Economy Bill I’m going to post it anyway.

Following on from my comments last week regarding the outrage amongst ISPs over clause 120A the industry has united and written a letter published in the FT this morning.  The signatories are a roll call of the heaviest hitters in the internet in the UK and include ISPA – drafts were circulated to us for comment on Monday.

It will be simply scandalous if 120A proceeds after this. Coincidentally and as a bit of an aside one of the consequences of 120A would be potentially to slow down the aforementioned lightening distribution of said news.  Half the websites concerned could be blocked!

To the letter

Business piracy Regs

Is Pre-Release killing the music business? #Digital Britain

In the context of the debate going on over copyright protection in the Digital Economy Bill there is an interesting event happening tomorrow night at the Performing Rights Society in London.

Entitled  “Is Pre-Release Killing Our Business?” tomorrow’s discussion is centred around the fact that in order to raise awareness the music industry conducts promotional campaigns for up to three months before a CD is released.  This stimulates demand for a product that is not yet available and it only takes one promo copy of a CD to be pirated and loaded onto a P2P network for that CD to be freely available which of course eats into sales at launch.

Because of this industry bodies including ERA and the MMF are calling for abolition of pre-release windows in their entirety. Tomorrow night’s speakers including the BBC’s Head of Music for Radio 1 George Ergatoudis, Martin Talbot, MD of the Official Charts Company, Ben Drury of 7 Digital and Emily MacKay of the NME.

It just goes to show that the whole fight against music piracy is something that has to be conducted across many fronts.

More details on the Music Tank website here.

It strikes me that there are so many discussion points/arguments surrounding the Copyright aspects of the Digital Economy Bill that it will be worth collating them all in an easy to access format – watch this space.

broadband Business internet Regs

Broadband Access: Getting Sensible about Digital Britain

The government this week said that they hope to provide access to the Internet to over 7 million people who can’t get online today…by 2014.

You have to ask what’s the point!?

It’s so exciting when you come across announcements such as that made by the Government this week saying that they are attempting to get over 7 million people who can’t get online today, access to the internet. By 2014!

This is of course great news!

The plan is being underpinned by funding in a number of areas

Business internet piracy Regs

Houston we have a problem – Digital Economy Bill amendment 120A #Digital Britain

The ISP industry is up in arms today as the House of Lords yesterday rushed through ill considered amendment 120A to the Digital Economy Bill proposing to allow rights holders to serve notice on ISPs to block access to sites considered by them (rightsholders) to have illegal content – music, movies, software etc.

This is a huge issue.  Rightsholders would be able to ask ISPs to block sites without a court order. If an ISP refuses and the rightsholder subsequently succeeds in getting a court injunction then the ISP will have to pay costs.

Business internet piracy Regs

Digital Economy Bill, hotels and Andrew Dismore MP on human rights

The Digital Economy Debate has generated a flurry of responses today – no doubt people getting messages out of the way before the rugby this weekend!

Firstly the UK hotel industry, via its mouthpiece the British Hospitality Association, has issued a press release expressing grave concern that their members could have their internet access cut off because of the illegal activities of naughty guests.

The miscreants will of course have long checked out by the time the long arm of the law reached out to behind the reception desk.

From personal experience (of having hundreds of hotels as customers and not of Torrenting whilst staying at them) hotels are particularly prone to guests taking advantage of the internet in the room to download material via P2P.

A long long time ago, way before Timico, I worked for Mitel who had at that time something like 80% of the UK hotels using their phone systems. Research in those days suggested that 90% of all internet surfing out of hotels was to pornographic websites. It was more unusual for people to have broadband at home and access from the office was strictly filtered.

So the BHA now joins the Educational system in wanting immunity from prosecution under the Digital Economy Bill. McDonalds will be next. At this rate a large part of the UK broadband estate will be seeking immunity from the Bill.

Also speaking out today is Parliament’s own Joint Select Committee on Human Rights which says the Government’s response to the problem of illegal file-sharing in the Digital Economy Bill may have created over-broad powers.

Andrew Dismore MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “Illegal file sharing is itself a breach of important rights, but the concern we have with this Bill is that it lacks detail. It has been difficult, even in the narrow area we have focussed on, to get a clear picture of the scope and impact of the provisions. The internet is constantly creating new challenges for policy-makers but that cannot justify ill-defined or sweeping legislative responses, especially when there is the possibility of restricting freedom of expression or the privacy of individual users.”

At least people are starting to shout louder. Andrew Dismore MP seems to have his head screwed on.

If you want to keep up to speed on the debate in the Lords go here.

broadband End User internet piracy Regs

I don't need broadband – I use my neighbour's WiFi – problems with Digital Economy Bill

I was talking to some people today about what type of broadband they had.  One of them surprisingly said she didn’t have broadband. I found this astonishing.  However the truth came out when she told me she just used next door’s which was unsecured.

Whatever you think of the morals of this it is a real life pointer as to the problems of proof when it comes to accusing a broadband owner of illegal downloading. 

I present here, for your delectation, the winner of the “dontdisconnectus” “Sing our Petition” competition.  The opposition to the Digital Economy Bill is building but it has some way to go yet I feel.

broadband End User internet piracy Regs

Digital Economy Bill: I Don’t Need Broadband – I Use My Neighbour’s WiFi

Opposition to the Digital Economy Bill is building, but it has some way to go.

I was talking to some people today about what type of broadband they had.  One of them surprisingly said she didn’t have broadband. I found this astonishing.  However the truth came out when she told me she just used next door’s which was unsecured.

Whatever you think of the morals of this it is a real life pointer as to the problems of proof when it comes to accusing a broadband owner of illegal downloading.

I present here, for your delectation, the winner of the “dontdisconnectus” “Sing our Petition” competition.  The opposition to the Digital Economy Bill is building but it has some way to go yet I feel.

Business internet

You're nicked son – Big Brother aka Digital Economy Bill

Not plagiarism, just admiration. A guide to illegal music downloading for the non technical.

Thanks to boggits for the lead.

Business internet piracy

You’re nicked son – Big Brother aka Digital Economy Bill

Not plagiarism, just admiration. A guide to illegal music downloading for the non technical.

Thanks to boggits for the lead.

Business engineering internet ofcom piracy Regs

Digital Economy Bill – printer accused of illegal downloads

The cogs of Government continue to grind. I know many of you yawn at some of these regulatory posts but man cannot live on network diagrams alone. The 5th day of the Digital Economy Bill House of Lords Committee stage was held yesterday.

No non-Government amendments made it through but a number of important concessions were made.

Clause 11 in particular concerns “Obligations to limit internet access”. The brakes are being put on this in that no order to cut off someone’s internet access could be made until 12 months after Ofcom has looked at this issue and come up with a Code of Practice.

It is now also proposed that it becomes a requirement, as opposed to an option, for the Secretary of State to request a report from Ofcom on the “suitability of a technical obligation”, ie whether a consumer gets cut off in a particular instance (I assume).

There will also be full appeals process which could be heard by a tribunal before any technical measure is imposed. It will still lead to a pretty messy situation downstream even if it delays the day of reckoning.

Note this is still not backed up by any sign of copyright licensing reform that will make it easier to download music in a legal manner.

There is a lot more to read about but you can do that yourselves here – if you have a few hours to spare and don’t mind finishing up with a headache. Despite all the glamour and the luxury expense fuelled living  🙂 a lot of what MPs do is deadly boring and is reported in such technical legalese as to make it often undecipherable to the “man on the street”.

It is worth noting something else. ISPs regularly receive “abuse” reports from Rights Holders. These letters informing an ISP of supposed illegal downloading activity from one of their customers’ IP Addresses

At last week’s UKNetwork Operators Forum (UKNOF) meeting a representative of Janet, the UK Education network, said that of the ‘abuse’ reports they received last year, 10% turned out to be for the IP addresses of printers, 15% were address space that wasn’t actually being used and 50% only had a 0 second interval for the time that material was being offered for download.

By this token, and I admit only in this anecdotal case, 75% of the supposed illegal activity would never pass scrutiny. This suggests that it is going to be very difficult for anyone to determine the validity of such an assertion by a Rights Holder, be they a judge, ISP or anyone else. There is no way an ISP would want to get involved with this without someone picking up the costs and being fully indemnified.