/>
X

Government will not disconnect suspected file-sharers

The UK government will not disconnect people suspected of sharing copyrighted material online as part of the Digital Economy Act, according to its response to a petition published on Wednesday.
ben-woods.jpg
Written by Ben Woods on

The UK government will not disconnect people suspected of sharing copyrighted material online as part of the Digital Economy Act, according to its response to a petition published on Wednesday.

The petition — which attracted 35,369 signatures before it stopped accepting submissions on 6 June — was submitted by Andrew Heaney, director of strategy and regulation at TalkTalk and lobbied for the removal of a proposal that would see alleged file-sharers disconnected from their Internet Service Provider (ISP) if caught illegally downloading copyrighted files.

"We think this has one fundamental flaw, as illegal file-sharers will simply hack into other peoples Wi-Fi networks to do their dirty work. This will result in innocent people being disconnected from the internet," Heaney wrote. "What's more, such a punishment should be dealt with in the proper way, in a court of law. This guilty until proven innocent approach violates basic human rights," he added.

The government's response states that "it is clear that online copyright infringement inflicts considerable damage on the UK's creative economy... Industry estimates place this harm at £400m per annum", in the statement.

It continues, "However this is an area of rapid technological change and developing consumer behaviour. The Act therefore includes a reserve power to introduce further 'technical' measures if the initial measures do not succeed. These technical measures would limit or restrict an infringers' access to the internet. They do not include disconnection."

Despite the government's assurances that suspected file-sharers will not be disconnected from their ISPs the Open Rights Group (ORG) says that the response is insufficient in addressing its concerns.

"The government cites widely discredited 'industry estimates' to justify dangerous and disproportionate legislation and reject the views of 30,000 citizens. The industry meanwhile is making more money than ever. Online profits are surging," Jim Killock, executive director, ORG, told ZDNet UK on Wednesday.

Killock also argues that the response is factually incorrect. "They say, 'These technical measures would limit or restrict an infringer's access to the internet.' The Act also includes measures to 'suspend' an account - i.e. to disconnect families for an undefined period of time."

Meanwhile, on Wednesday the High Court granted a judicial review of the Digital Economy Act, requested in July by TalkTalk and BT over concerns that the act had received "insufficient scrutiny before being rushed through into law at the tail end of the last parliament", the companies said in a joint statement at the time.

Related

Why you should really stop charging your phone overnight
iphone-charging.jpg

Why you should really stop charging your phone overnight

iPhone
I loved driving the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, and there's only one reason I can't buy one
img-1724

I loved driving the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, and there's only one reason I can't buy one

Electric Vehicles
Samsung phone deal: Get the Galaxy S22 Ultra for $299
1296x729-29

Samsung phone deal: Get the Galaxy S22 Ultra for $299

Smartphones