UK Law Enforcement Tells UK Gov't: Please Don't Kick File Sharers Offline

from the didn't-see-that-coming dept

Those who believe that kicking people off the internet based on accusations of file sharing is an affront to basic due process and civil rights have perhaps an unexpected ally: UK law enforcement and intelligence services have come out against Peter Mandelson’s “three strikes and your off the internet” plan. Of course, they’re not as concerned about due process and civil rights, as they are about making it more difficult to track down criminals online:

Law enforcement groups, which include the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and the Metropolitan Police’s e-crime unit, believe that more encryption will increase the costs and workload for those attempting to monitor internet traffic. One official said: “It will make prosecution harder because it increases the workload significantly.”

A source involved in drafting the Bill said that the intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, had also voiced concerns about disconnection. “The spooks hate it,” the source said. “They think it is only going to make monitoring more difficult.”

Enforcement groups are also unhappy that the Government’s change of plans has left them little time to draw up a response. Lord Mandelson’s intervention came two months after the Government’s Digital Britain report, published in June, failed to back disconnection.

So, the government’s own plan said no to kicking people off the internet. The police and the intelligence services are saying no to it. Why is Mandelson still supporting it?

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Comments on “UK Law Enforcement Tells UK Gov't: Please Don't Kick File Sharers Offline”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Law enforcement says “it’s too much work, we might actually have to do something as opposed to drinking tea and taking theft reports from little old ladies”.

UK is a total hole of a place to live these days, crime, grime, hooliganism, total lack of respect for the laws or others around them. The police have shrugged their shoulders on all of it, and gone to hide behind the video screens to watch cameras.

Taking the UK police’s opinion isn’t exactly anything other than “we don’t want the work”.

ChadBroChill (profile) says:

Re: Hooliganism

Judge: This court finds you guilty of Hooliganism in the first degree.

Defendant: Wait, what?

Judge: Your sentence, since this is not a real crime, will be six years served in imagination jail. You will be required to imagine cold concrete and bars surrounding you at all times. You will have a chance for imagination parole after 4 years.

Defendant: Um, ok. That doesn’t even sound like an enforceable punishment.

Judge: Next case, a third strike filesharing offender. Oh this sounds just like my previous case. . .

ethorad (profile) says:

more tea, less cctv monitoring

They’re outsourcing monitoring cctv to the public now, so that only leaves drinking tea doesn’t it?

(having said that I think the problem lies not with the boys in blue, but with the idiots in parliament – the ones who come up with the red tape, stupid ideas like ASBOs, letting problem estates fester, etc)

nelsoncruz (profile) says:

I have been saying this for years. All efforts to stop P2P file sharing have led to new systems increasingly more difficult to monitor and control. In response to things like “3 strikes” anonymous/encrypted/private systems will be made and/or grow in usage.

Last week after France’s constitutional council approved the latest version of “3 strikes” law, the French forums were predictably ablaze with talk about VPNs, P2P apps that only share with “friends”, etc.

“Piracy” will go on. But controlling the spread of really dangerous content (child porn, terrorism) will be that much more difficult. The “spooks” are right to be worried, and I’m glad they are speaking up about it.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re: Re:

talk about VPNs, P2P apps that only share with “friends”, etc.

What the Big Media doesn’t get is that if people are willing to *pay* monthly to access a VPN service, they’d equally be willing to *pay* for an all-you-can-eat download subscription priced near those VPN services.

Better a few bucks a month for no extra work than zero bucks a month for zero extra work.



Re: I think it gets worse

Let us imagine this

Person A uses ISP1. Person A downloads “stuff” and gets a letter.
Person A switches to ISP2. Person A downloads “stuff” and gets another letter.
Is this the second letter for Person A?

Or this

Person A uses ISP1. Person A downloads “stuff” and gets two letters.
Person A switches to ISP2.
Would ISP1 have to tell ISP2 that Person A had been sent two letters?

Or this

Person A uses ISP1. Person A downloads “stuff” and gets two letters.
Person A switches to ISP2. A month passes.
Person A switches back to ISP1. Do the “two letters” still apply? What about after six months, or a year or two years…

So what we would need is a database of internet activity shared by all ISPs. Who host such a database and pay for it?

nelsoncruz (profile) says:

Re: Re: I think it gets worse

In France they setup a government agency (HADOPI) to keep such a database. And I think after 1 year your “record” is cleared. You have to be accused 3 times in the time frame of 1 year to get disconnected.

My “survival guide” for this would be:
1st warning – don’t panic, avoid downloading “high profile” stuff (recently released movies or music).

2nd warning – stop using open P2P, sign for a VPN service or file hosting site (rapidshare, megaupload, etc) until 1 year after 1st warning.

nelsoncruz (profile) says:

Re: Re: I think it gets worse

AHOTHABETH, in France they created a government they created a government agency to keep the database. And I think the 3 accusations have to occur in the time frame of 1 year. So as a “survival guide” I would suggest:

1st warning – don’t panic, avoid downloading “high profile” stuff like recently released movies and albums. Consider using a private BT tracker instead of public ones.

2nd warning – signup to VPN to route your P2P traffic via a server or signup to a file hosting site and download everything from there, until 1 year has passed since 1st warning.

Captain Kibble (profile) says:

Why is Sith Lord Mandelson backing this measure?

He wasn’t originally but then he had dinner with ‘billionaire media mogul’ David Geffen and suddenly he was all for it. I’d hazard a guess that Mandelson has found himself a financial backer for his inevitable Labour party leadership challenge and subsequent General Election campaign. And all he had to do was sell British Internet users down the river.

Rabbit80 (profile) says:

Re: let's use the UK as a test...

Sure – let ’em try…

They are ALLOWING me to download until I get 2 warning letters. I then change ISP – there will be hell on if they pass my details to my new ISP without a court order! (Data protection and all that!) – I now can download as much as I like again 😀

All I need now is an automated way to change my IP address every couple of hours…

Anonymous Coward says:

Of course, they’re not as concerned about due process and civil rights, as they are about making it more difficult to track down criminals online:

Hold on a second, you’re a criminal once a court says you are. Up to that point you are a suspect. The above quote should end . . . “as they are about making it more difficult to track down suspects online:”.

Please don’t play into the hands of those who seek to rule over us, by using loaded words like criminals.

Pierre (user link) says:

Not all Pirates get the same treatment...

GROUPAMA was caught in a software PIRACY case of $200m and has made an unofficial affidavit (claiming that it was not guilty) to divert BEFTI investigators from the evidences officially collected one month ago at a different office.

In its affidavit, GROUPAMA argued that bank secrecy entitled it to limit the scope of Police investigations to a building that was not the place where evidences about the infraction were officially collected.

After the fraud was discovered and denounced by the victim, as GROUPAMA managed to have the General Prosecutor of Paris to state that Police was ‘right’ to ignore the criminal file and focus only on the irrelevant information provided by GROUPAMA itself, there is room for serious doubts in the way that affair was conducted.

As a matter of facts, FINAMA and GROUPAMA have reported false information to the markets regarding their own accounts (where the fraud describbed below has never been reported).

This unfortunate event is more than likely to compromize the confidence ratings of French (bank and insurance) regulated markets on the proven basis that the numbers cannot be trusted.

All the details, including the General Prosecutor reply, the BEFTI investigation file and the unofficial affidavit cooked by GROUPAMA have been made publicly available:

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