Only ISP In Town Pulling Plug On Suspected File Sharers With No Recourse [Update]

from the guilt-by-accusation dept

With all the talk about various "three strikes" plans to kick accused (but not convicted) file sharers off the internet, it appears that one ISP, called Kaloo, in the UK has taken this to an extreme: it's kicking people off on the first accusation of infringement, with no warning, and the only way to get reconnected is to sign a form admitting guilt and promising not to do it again. Even worse? It's the only ISP in town, so people who get kicked off are basically without an internet connection. What's really odd is that the ISP doesn't seem to recognize how a complete lack of due process is a problem, calling the program "reasonable" and suggesting it "protects people from illegal activity." No, actually, it doesn't. It cuts people off from what's increasingly a vital communications system without any real proof or due process. Doesn't that seem like a problem? Update: With all the fuss and publicity from the BBC article the ISP seems to have agreed to change its policy to a "three strikes" one. That's still not great, but better than the one strike plan.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Rodney, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 11:48am

    Simple - accuse everyone in town of infringing and watch as the ISP simply goes out of business

     

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    A Dan, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

    Update needed

    The page you linked says (at least now) that they changed their minds after this storm of publicity, and switched it to three written warnings first. Still not great, but you may want to note the update.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    Wait, should the ISP be tolerating illegal file transfers only because they are the only ISP? Seems to me the question should be "why is there only 1 ISP in Hull".

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:17pm

      Re:

      A. "[S]hould the ISP be tolerating illegal file transfers only because they are the only ISP" isn't the question being asked. The question being asked is should those ALLEGED to be illegaly transferring files (and actually, the article just says FILESHARERS) be tolerated by the only ISP in town, and the only reasonable answer is of course they should, all the way up until some actual authority goes through the legal process of convicting them.

      B. "Seems to me the question should be "why is there only 1 ISP in Hull"" is a completely valid question. If the answer is that it's a rural area and no one else wants to bother doing business there, that's one thing. If there is any hint of non-competition through govt. interference, NOW we've got a problem.

       

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        Richard, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 3:17pm

        Re: Re: Why only One ISP in Hull

        No it's a big city. The reason is historical accident. The telephone service in Hull was originally operated by the local authority rather than by the post office as in the rest of the UK (because they started it before the phone service was set up nationally). When BT was carved out of the post office and then privatised the Hull telephone service was also privatised - but remained separate (although I think the local council is still a major shareholder). When BT was forced to provide facilities to other ISP's in the rest of the UK the measure was not imposed on Karoo and so they have a monopoly. However I guess that if you have cable you can get other ISPs in Hull

         

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      drewmerc (profile), Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:37pm

      Re:

      it's something to do with when the telephone system split from post office control and became BT, hull council decided to take over the local phone system thus 30 years later this is how it ends

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 1:53pm

        Re: Re:

        Therefore, what you are saying is that the residence (and their respresentatives) chose to take over the system, creating a monopoly and making it impossible for anyone else to come in.

        This ISPs rules are harsh, yes, but it is harsher that there is no competition in this marketplace. Perhaps people should address that issue and beg the British government to fund bringing in another source of internet connectivity. Sounds like a market ripe for some WiMax or 3G style action.

         

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        ,ike allen, Jul 26th, 2009 @ 11:41am

        Re: Re:

        you are right to an extent, except hull set up its own system long before BT took over the post office one.Why it has not been forced by OFCOM the UK regulator to accept any ISP as BT have i don't know. They should allow competition both for phone and Internet. and where are virgin media who also run cable TV as well as phone and Internet or is there no cable TV in Hull. ahh h forgot they also operate a 3 strike policy.

         

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    Dubus, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:15pm

    While the ISP doesn't necessarily need to tolerate illegal file sharing, it should at least have a process in place to avoid accusing someone of doing something illegal with little to no evidence of it. Otherwise you will end up with false positives that end up hurting the company's reputation more than helping it.

     

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    General Mao, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    What are you talking about?

    I don't know why you people have your knickers in a bunch. They do this sort of thing ALL THE TIME in China. And if it's good enough for the most populus country in the world, it's certainly good enough for the rest of us!

    Due process simply gets in the way of corporations pushing their agenda. Democracy failed a long time ago. Most countries are not Corpocracies.

    So stop complaining and start complying!

     

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      DJ (profile), Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:34pm

      Re: What are you talking about?

      "They do this sort of thing ALL THE TIME in China."

      Dude, China is a communist country. On that fact, alone, your argument is completely bunk!

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:49pm

        Re: Re: What are you talking about?

        Dude, China is a communist country. On that fact, alone, your argument is completely bunk!

        Dude, China is an authoritarian regime with little regards for individual rights. Those are traits that are showing up more and more in countries that don't call themselves communist.

         

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          Ben, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 1:41pm

          Re: Re: Re: What are you talking about?

          Why do you think that China and the US are such good buddies?
          You know that as far as carrying out executions China is number one and the US is a not so distant number two!

          And now that the US government is totally in debt to China I think it can be said that America has a Chinese landlord!

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 1:22pm

        Re: Re: What are you talking about?

        China isn't communist, it's an authoritarian socialist country. Whereas the US is a representative-socialist country.

         

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      DJ (profile), Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:37pm

      Re: What are you talking about?

      Unless...

      "So stop complaining and start complying!"

      Cynicism?

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:50pm

        Re: Re: What are you talking about?

        Uh, DJ, the dude's name is General Mao. I quick Wikipedia search will give you an idea that this was most assuredly sarcasm.

         

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      minijedimaster (profile), Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:42pm

      Re: What are you talking about?

      Socialist governments of the world unite! All under the banner of Hope and Change!

       

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

      Re: What are you talking about?

      Not to mention, America isn't a Democracy.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

        Re: Re: What are you talking about?

        Not to mention, America isn't a Democracy.

        Shhhh! Quiet, the sheeple might hear you!

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:42pm

    Power Companies?

    Hey, wouldn't this be great thing for the power companies to start doing too? After all, why should the power companies tolerate people using their power for illegal activities? Just cut off the power to people who have been accused and require them to sign a confession to get it turned back on. All those signed confessions could then be used to "prove" that the power company was right in doing what it did in the first place. Ain't corporatocracy great?

     

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    RD, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:49pm

    F-Yeah

    "Wait, should the ISP be tolerating illegal file transfers only because they are the only ISP?"

    YES

    They are a SERVICE PROVIDER, not a CONTENT PROVIDER. They need to provide the internet connection ONLY and stay out of everyone's business.

     

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      Perry K (profile), Jul 24th, 2009 @ 1:57pm

      Re: F-Yeah

      I'd go one further and submit that we rename ISPs to:
      IAP (Internet Access Provider)
      That's all I need thanks. Access for my packets to get anywhwere on the net. I don't need anythings else from my IAP. DNS I can find elsewhere, crappy security software suites I don't need either.

       

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    RD, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    There you go

    "Hey, wouldn't this be great thing for the power companies to start doing too? After all, why should the power companies tolerate people using their power for illegal activities? Just cut off the power to people who have been accused and require them to sign a confession to get it turned back on."

    Good example, especially when you consider that power can (and mostly does) get used for MUCH MORE THAN INFRINGING ACTIVITY. Try to cut someone off on these pretenses from main power, say in the middle of winter, and see how fast they get sued out of existence.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 24th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

      Re: There you go

      Interesting. What is the information equivalent of winter? :)

       

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        Fred McTaker (profile), Jul 25th, 2009 @ 12:41am

        Re: Re: There you go

        @Dark Helmet
        "What is the information equivalent of winter?"

        I've got one answer now: Michael Jackson's death. Anyone without Internet couldn't get any real news or information for several days, because all the radio and TV broadcasts (they don't deserve to be called networks) would talk about is how even insane plastiformed and drug-addled pop stars are still mortal. What a shame.

        It all comes down to standards and competition. Internet providers need to realize they're not old-style broadcast moguls -- they are dumb bit pushers, and should not take any part in what is exchanged over the connection they set up, no matter what any "content provider" claims. Old-style broadcast moguls need to go away, so we can use all the airwaves they've been hoarding for too long, so we can ALL have better connections. They are all series-of-tubes plumbers at best, even according to their best defenders. They should always be deemed replaceable in any market, and should no longer be able to dictate how we use the plumbing we paid for.

        In the U.S., if you still think the telcos and cable companies paid to set up the Internet as it exists today, you need to look up the history of "Universal LifeLine" surcharges, and other Congressional give-aways to telcos, that were supposed to be used to give us all direct fiber access. They took our taxes and padded their pockets, and kept their actual infrastructure growth to a minimum. We paid for everything they've ever constructed several times over, via hidden taxes and surcharges (on top of their usual monopoly rents). They get to make us pay again and again, to use the same infrastructure we already paid for. Maintenance does not cost anywhere near what they're charging us every month. Maintaining their massive billing systems costs more than any of their technician labor. I say we take it all back, and don't give them one more dime.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 1:54pm

      Re: There you go

      Umm, try running a grow op on your local power companies lines. Once they see the spike, they will be all over you like stink on poo,trying to figure out why you are using so much power. Oh yeah, they will turn you off.

      It's the reason most growops bypass the meters to avoid detection.

       

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    thornintheside, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 1:55pm

    Get their subscriber list

    Get their subscriber list, submit multiple claims of copyright infringement. They kick all their customers off and you start a competing ISP.

     

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    John85851 (profile), Jul 24th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    Right to internet access?

    How long until Internet access becomes as important as phone service? Would a phone company just shut off your service because you were doing something illegal (like maybe harassing or prank-calling people)?

    I like the comparison to the power company that a poster used above. If I use my computer to download something illegal, shouldn't my power get cut off as well? After all, my computer, monitor, and modem use services provided by the power company.

    But, obviously, this ISP thinks it's more important to kick people off than it is to keep customers and the income from these customers.

     

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    Emma, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 2:55pm

    Short of receiving an official complaint from a copyright holder, how does an ISP determine that a subscriber is engaging in allegedly illegal file-sharing?

     

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    Roberto Valenzuela, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 2:59pm

    Balance

    TBF, the reason the ISP is doing this is (doubtless) to avoid getting entangled in a nasty legal shitstorm with the big artist and movie associations. As such, the worst we can really accuse them of is moral weakness -- taking the easy way out and bending over, rather than fighting stupid laws and policies.

     

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    His Noodly Appendage, Jul 24th, 2009 @ 3:36pm

    "You've got to come into the office before 12:30pm and fill in a form saying that you won't do it again. They told us they had sent a letter informing us of the disconnection, but the letter never arrived."

    Danny said he was downloading a copy of a game he'd legitimately purchased. Unfortunately that isn't legal, the license merely permits you to own a piece of plastic: but that's hardly 24x7 downloading. And without any kind of warning, he wasn't able to argue his case.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/07/24/karoo_p2p_policy_change/

     

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    Daemon_ZOGG (profile), Jul 24th, 2009 @ 11:16pm

    agreed to change its policy to a "three strikes" one...

    Why risk your own account when war-driving is SO much easier ;) wink-wink--say no more..;)

     

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    David, Jul 25th, 2009 @ 1:37am

    Teacher

    "You've got to come into the office before 12:30pm and fill in a form saying that you won't do it again."
    What sort of condescending language is that?
    If you don't we'll give you 100 lines (I must not download again), make you stand in the corner wearing a dunce's hat and you will stay in after school.

     

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    D.L. Viernes, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 1:19pm

    nothing good comes out of the UK

    More power to that ISP. All I have recieved out of the UK is 419 scams and theft of funds from my checking account from some thieves under the sobriqet of "Spoiled Brat". Maybe there are a few people in the UK that would like to stop your slide to becoming another third world socialist pest hole.

     

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