UK confirms plans to cut off Internet service to alleged pirates

“The UK government’s business secretary, Lord Mandelson, has confirmed initial plans to cut off Internet service for those who persistently, illegally download files,” Electronista reports.

“The policy should take effect in the summer of 2011 but will allegedly be considered a ‘last resort’ after three notifications,” Electronista reports. “After two initial warnings with close monitoring over the space of a year, Internet users would be disconnected with three months’ opportunity to appeal the decision.”

Electronista reports, “The strategy closely parallels that of France’s newly enacted law, which has been nicknamed the “three strikes law” for the number of warnings and the end result.”

Full article here.


  1. Note how the Amazon ad in the article features Orwell’s 1984 – very nice touch, MDN.

    Didn’t the EU already reach the conclusion that internet disconnection was a disproportionate punishment relative to the crime committed?

    France is getting around it by having the disconnection determination made in a courtroom. Sounds like the UK’s approach will be closer to the content industry’s preferred “guilty until proven innocent” approach of three unproven accusations.

  2. @Gabriel, the “guilty until proven innocent” approach would be more like the media tax in Canada — everyone pays a fine for pirating movies, music and software, whether or not they actually pirate anything. It will be called an “Arrr!” tax.

  3. Wireless password or no, the hacker down the street on the same cable segment (not DSL) can spoof some neighbor’s MAC address and the ISP records will show the neighbor is accessing “illegal content.” So the burden of proof rests where?

  4. What’s ironic is that MDN, with the clear right-wing bent of some of their editors, would take a stand toward piracy and against content owners. I can tell you that if something like this were to be proposed in this country, most of the support would be coming from those on MDN’s favorite side of the aisle and most of the howls of protests would come from the long-haired hippy liberal progressives they so loathe.

    Not that I disagree with MDN’s position. I just find it amusing.


  5. Mandy and co. will be out on their ear come May 2010 at the latest. The only thing good about the current government is that it doesn’t contain the absolutely vile Tony Blair.

  6. Fsck you Mandelson.

    For those who don’t know who this slimy little bastard is, he is a political whore who has publicly stated he would defect to Conservative if it kept him in power.

    Oh, and he also bought a home in Notting Hill in 1996 with the assistance of an interest-free loan of £373,000 from Geoffrey Robinson, a millionaire Labour MP who was also in the Government, but was subject to an inquiry into his business dealings by Mandelson’s department.

    Mandelson is the ultimate fool on the hill.

  7. …”hacker down the street on the same cable segment (not DSL) can spoof some neighbor’s MAC address and the ISP records will show the neighbor is accessing “illegal content.”

    So the ISP will go after that neighbour. And this person will find themselves quite surprised after the FIRST warning. And if they did absolutely nothing (i.e. ignored that first warning), they’d be getting a SECOND warning. Now, if it were me getting that second (mind you, that FIRST) warning, I’d protest vigorously, and right away. Since the warning will probably contain most threatening language, I’d rightfully be worried that I’d be left without my connection, so I’d do everything I can to defend myself. The ISP will obviously be fairly close to the real perpetrator, all they’ll have to do is look around the network segment for other computers and find the real guy, who is now facing not just disconnection, but possibly some criminal charges for impersonating someone else (a bit of a stretch in this context, but not totally unlikely).

    If you let your ISP send you three really nasty warnings and ignore those warnings (because you haven’t done anything), you really can’t blame your ISP for cutting you off. Kind of like getting arrested for something you didn’t do, and then ignoring the judge and not defending yourself in court (you didn’t do anything, after all; what’s to defend?). Much like police make mistakes (or “mistakes”) all the time, there is a chance your ISP could make a mistake (or a “mistake”). You can still fix the problem; with the internet, there is always a solid virtual paper trail.

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