MI5, an ISP lawsuit and an e-petition: More opposition to piracy cut-off plans

Summary:A major ISP, TalkTalk, the police, and even MI5 and MI6 are opposing the UK file-sharing cut-off plans laid out by the government. Will the policy fall?

There has been more controversy this week with a major Internet service provider, a petition set up to harness the power of democracy, but also the British Security Service, MI5, all opposing the cut-off laws which are being pushed through by a key figure in the British government's cabinet.

The Digital Economy Bill, which will be brought to Parliament in the next few months, began with a good intention to bring positive change to how the country's primary source of communication was run and would continue to work, such as:

"...delivering a universally available broadband in the UK by 2012 through a public fund, including funds released from the digital television switchover help scheme."

However, Peter Mandelson, the Business Secretary, is trying to use this legislation to follow through his apparent own agenda to fight illegal file-sharing in form of cutting offenders off the web for the maximum of a year.

Both intelligence services, MI5 and MI6 have "voiced their concerns" regarding the disconnection of citizens who are found to be file-sharing as it will make monitoring and surveillance far more difficult, while police and major law enforcement units in London are concerned due to the amount of evidence that will no longer be able to be collected as a result of these bans.

It is important to say that Mandelson does not see "widespread account suspension" resulting, and that the "technical measures" (cutting off the Internet to offenders) will be a "last resort".

Meanwhile, TalkTalk, a major ISP in the UK with ownership rights over Tiscali and AOL and serving over four million users, are threatening legal action against either the government for enacting the policy or even Mandelson directly.

Last month the ISP, who are massively against the three-strike plan, demonstrated how with many unsecured wireless networks still existing, how easy it would be to download illegal content or media through another connection.

With this, Andrew Heaney, TalkTalk's executive director of strategy and regulation, has taken advantage of the Government's e-petition service, asking the prime minster to:

"... abolish the proposed law that will see alleged illegal file-sharers disconnected from their broadband connections, without a fair trial."

If you have or had British citizenship, you are more than welcome to sign the petition which can be found here.

As and when news develops on this rather interesting and somewhat personal topic, you'll find it here.

Topics: Legal, Browser, Government, Government : US, Hardware, Mobility, Piracy, Security, Telcos

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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