British wireless internet users - you're guilty

British wireless internet users - you're guilty

Summary: If this legislation passes in its current form, Britain's digital privacy rights will be non-existent.


Wireless technology is the current catalyst creating new applications, services and content. In the U.K. this may come to a standstill, or should I say, become obsolete.  Zack Whittaker wrote an excellent article on the weekend reporting that the British Government is tabling legislation that effectively wipes out open access to WIFI Internet services. Our sister website, ZDNet UK offered details of the legislation now before the House of Lords. Some would suggest that this legislation borders on being draconian in its pursuit of eliminating copyright violation that occurs through file sharing on Internet networks. The proposed legislation does not ban free WIFI, but it does propose to regulate it for any use in libraries, schools, communities, pubs and other public access areas. The legislation makes it impractical and financially impossible for implementation.

The proposed legislation document is available and shows past and current recommended changes and markup. It is blunt and right to the point.  The Lords are suggesting changes to the Digital Economy Bill recommending wireless network access in all forms must be regulated. Just as frightening is the amount of influence copyright protection is having on communications law. Are the changes in the Digital Economy Bill indicators of what obligations and legal instruments ACTA lobbyists have strived for in the still secretive ACTA treaty? I would suggest the answer is yes, even though the final ACTA treaty language has not been disclosed.

The home of the Magna Carta may wind up being a digital police state. You will be assumed to be guilty of copyright violation before you log on. The government clearly believes that pub owners, hotels, business people and consumers simply cannot be trusted. If you can't provide Identification, network management tools and filtering of Internet content for your wireless service, you will not be allowed to offer it. As this unfolds, new questions arise regarding privacy rights (yes /no?) and how this potentially impacts future innovation in the U.K.

If this legislation passes in its current form, Britain's digital privacy rights will be non-existent.

Additional resources:

FCC's National Broadband Plan: Net Neutrality, R.I.P.

FCC releases 'Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan'

FCC may set aside free wireless spectrum for Internet broadband

FCC, Comcast, others testify before Congress: NBC Universal-Comcast merger

British Telecom chief: File share users should be fined, not disconnected

Net Neutrality: Why the Internet will never be free. For anything. So get used to it

AT&T to FCC: Open to Net Neutrality ideas - with conditions

Net Neutrality: You own the Internet - make sure it becomes Law

Internet: A threat to government or the other way around?

Electronic Frontier Foundation links net neutrality to copyright

United Kingdom National Archives

French solution to illegal download and copyright infringement - tax Google and Yahoo

Google loses book copyright case in France

Lobbyist: Canada cans copyright deal in exchange for U.S. dropping Buy America

European Parliament notice to ACTA negotiators: Open up discussion and be transparent to the public

Topics: Browser, Mobility, Networking, Wi-Fi

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RIAA and MPAA nirvana!

    Maybe the Brits need to "cecede" just like the Yanks?
    Oh, wait! That didn't work here either!
  • UK is not just a USA state

    Controlled by the most dangerous duo of international criminal organisation: MPAA/RIAA.

    next time you buy a movie, remember that the MPAA destroyed more lives then any wars/terrorists attack ever did.
    • But who is the real criminal

      the person stealing, or the one using DRM to protect their property? I ask this as it seems that the MPAA/RIAA gets the "criminal" label attached to them for doing what they are legally allowed to do, yet the person stealing, well...
      • The MPAA/RIAA is the real criminal

        "GuidingLight" (egads...), you're doing precisely what the House of Lords is doing-- presuming the populace guilty by default. The MPAA/RIAA are criminals for stripping away the rights of the people for their own profit.
      • Just because they (RIAA/MPAA) bought politicians and lawmakers

        to pervert justice to their own selfish interests, doesn't mean they are not immoral.

        So in answer to your question:
        [i]"But who is the real criminal..."[/i]

        It is my opinion the RIAA/MPAA are the real culprits.

        What's different when you listen to radio, satellite, or watch a TV video?

        Art is meant to be experienced and shared. If the art is good enough, it will also thrive financially.

        Take for example le Cirque Du Soleil...

        Cirque expanded rapidly through the 1990s and 2000s, going from one show to approximately 4,000 employees from over 40 countries producing 19 shows in over 271 cities on every continent except Africa and Antarctica, with an estimated annual revenue exceeding US$810 million.[5][6].[/i]

        Ah but one important difference is they are not subscribing to being voluntarily exploited and raped by the RIAA / MPAA.

        What about:
        Results 1 - 10 of about 237,000 for artists sue the riaa. (0.25 seconds)

        Do you really think they are in it for the artists? Are you that gullible?