UK Gov't Official: Innocent People Won't Get Kicked Off The Internet; Trust Us

from the we're-from-the-gov't-and-we're-here-to-help-Hollywood dept

With all of the concern over the proposed bill in the UK to kick file sharers off the internet based on accusations (not convictions), some have been raising concerns about innocent users kicked off the internet. Culture Minister Sion Simon has hit back at those claims insisting that the innocent won’t be kicked offline. Really. Trust us. Or something like that. The main reason he claims that it won’t impact the innocent is because multiple letters will be sent and there will be an “appeals” process. Of course, that ignores the fact that this could still be quite a disruption in someone’s life. If they’re falsely accused, they risk losing their internet access and have to fight an appeal? That could be costly in terms of both time and money. And, of course, we’ve already seen, with other similar threats, that the warning letters sometimes get sent to the wrong address or wrong person and get ignored entirely.

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Comments on “UK Gov't Official: Innocent People Won't Get Kicked Off The Internet; Trust Us”

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Brian (profile) says:

I love the last part of the article where it appears to be talking about reducing levels of illegal file sharing by 70 percent, although its not clear if its overall or for the individual user. I would however enjoy knowing how this company will know what is illegal and what is not regardless. Are they just going to say any traffic possibly associated with something that looks like file sharing is automatically illegal? Or will they do deep packet inspection of all internet traffic or place some sort of software on your computer to monitor your activity? Or are they just an all knowing entity that waves its hand and just know.

iNtrigued (profile) says:

What's wrong with people?

Wow, I should really get a new keyboard. Overly sensitive enter keys are Great!


Don’t people know the government would NEVER lie to them. They only want what’s best for us. Nothing bad could possibly happen. Why can’t people see that?

Oh wait, the collective history of the world, nevermind.

Michael Ho (profile) says:

Re: What's wrong with people?

aha.. is that’s what going on with your comments, INtrigued?

personally, I hate my lenovo keyboard cuz the arrow keys are right next to the “back” button — so sometimes when I want to move the cursor.. I’ll hit “back” by mistake and lose whatever text I was entering. grr!

ok rant off.

Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Another well paid tool heard from

“hardly anybody, other than the most serious and egregious recidivistic offenders”

Well at least he was properly bought and paid for, I’m sick and tired of hearing from “free” politicians. They’re coming for the Raporists!

The one bright spot, at least, is that the EU is requiring an avenue for appeal through judicial review. Hopefully this will be a more tangible justice than the French 3-strikes law in place.

roxanneadams (profile) says:

Can someone explain to me exactly how the ISP provider determines what I’m doing with the data I’m downloading or uploading, and whether or not the data belongs to me?

Example. When I buy a movie from Itunes, the downloads take an insanely long time – as long as three hours. If someone was monitoring my data usage, it would look like I was either a bandwith hog or a bootleg downloader.

What about streaming movies on Netflix? This activity must consume a lot of bandwidth. If my American ISP were to start the same kind of policy as the UK companies, does this mean I’m going to get warning letters from my ISP, making me responsible for proving that I wasn’t doing anything illegal? The whole thing seems ridiculous.

I also upload data and music files to a third-party storage service for my Google G1. From my home computer, I send files to a virtual drive that I can later access on my G1. Some of these files are huge. Right now this is just ‘Gee-whiz look what I can do with my G1’ and doesn’t serve any useful purpose, but from my home computer, I’m uploading a hell of a lot of data. If the ISP decides to crack down on what they think are data bootleggers, do I have to prove that I really was uploading music I paid for, pictures of my cats (stop laughing), and data files that I created? Doesn’t this also bring up real privacy issues?

That’s my data, and without a search warrant or a court order, I don’t believe that I should have to let my ISP peruse my subdirectories of stupid cat photos, with the data being stored with a third-party private storage service that I pay for and not hosted on my ISP.

Blk Ball says:

Re: What rights do you think you have?

You have NO rights when it comes to your ISP. Search warrants are for the government. The ISP can do whatever the heck it pleases with your data – they just modify the terms of service and by using their service, you agree to have them inspect your data.

If you don’t like it, you can stop using them. If enough people stop using them, they MIGHT change their ToS…

But there are usually more than enough sheep out there who blindly agree to whatever the ToS is and don’t WANT to know what’s really going on.

They are sheep. They are cattle.

They should be put out into fields and made to eat grass.



Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: What rights do you think you have?

Even if there’s nothing in the TOS that allows for it at the time you sign, they usually throw in a clause that says they can change it any time they want and still bind you to it.

Can’t wait to see all the shared, padded files full of gibberish characters going across the networks, cleverly designed to be about the same size as the verboten stuff and transmitted in the same way. Perfectly legal to do that, of course, and it can be done pretty much constantly. I wonder how long something like that would have to be kept up before the rules change back to something sensible?

Gordon says:

Re: Re: What rights do you think you have?

And you posted that comment how?

Oh yeah through an ISP. Did it one of three ways probably,

At work on their network in which case you should probably go back to work and just shut your hole. I’m sure they don’t pay you to troll Techdirt.

At home on a wireless network somebody else pays for in which case you should get your own and stop freeloading on their dime.

Or you are in fact on the ISP you pay for….in which case I’ll see you out in the field eating.

Have a day.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

This is so cool !!!!

When this goes into effect its going to be fun to watch the unintended consequences. Encryption technology exploding, doubling of bandwidth utilization as proxy and anon VPN are utilized more, the high cost to the ISP’s having to deal with piracy, ISP’s being forced to do deep packet inspections, the increase in piracy as it becomes safer due to encryption and anonymity.

And to all the members of the RIAA, MPAA, ASCAP, IFPI, SIIA, etc ….

May You Live In Interesting Times …. Big Ole GRIN

Overcast (profile) says:

Re: Re: This is so cool !!!!

Not to mention a lot of IP & MAC spoofing and hacking anyone still using WEP (i.e. a lot of average people) – the “pirates” download as much as they like, safe in the knowledge that some innocent neighbour gets the heat if they’re ever caught. Spiffy.

Yep – just more reasons to infect other computers for use as proxies.

I suspect – most politicians don’t even have a clue that can be done.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: This is so cool !!!!

“I suspect – most politicians don’t even have a clue that can be done.”

Some of them probably do know this is possible, more than likely on the military/intel community. One possible outcome is that this escalation between downloaders and IP holders will inadvertantly lead to an IRAN style telcom system. Where everything is monitored and deep packet inspection is the norm and not the exception. This outcome scares and offends me.

MonicaS (profile) says:


I agree with our greek commenter above Hephaestus in every way! Also, can is huge gaping holes in the who accusation argument! In this case I would be more then happy to accuse anyone I don’t like, or anyone who may be in competition with my business and get the banned.

I feel odd criticizing an entire country, but the UK is a prefect example of big brother abuse. Not sure why the brits don’t wake up and start fighting for some sanity while there is some left.

Monica S
Los Angeles Computer Repair

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Think of it this way. Despite the numerous constitutional and due process safeguards, the trial, the impartial jury, the presumption of innocence, the countless appeals and the rehearings. Despite all of that, innocent people are still put to death for crimes they never committed.

Does anyone think the safe guards the UK puts in place to weed out the innocent will actually be better?!

Dom S says:

Re: Spoofed IP addresses

surely not that long… im sure someone who’s interested in this ridiculous policy knows someone within an ISP who could “obtain” this data. otherwise any techy/hacker could sit outside an MPs house and “obtain” this data somehow.

NOT THAT IM VINDICATING THIS ACTION… although it would be pretty cool/funny/appropriate and im pretty sure it would prove a point to the idiots we have in government!

Call me Al says:

I’m pretty sure they said “Trust us!” when they introduced our draconian anti-terror legislation. They guaranteed us it was all for national security in order to protect us from terrorists.

Now that legislation is frequently used by local councils to spy on people they suspect of fly tipping or dog fouling.

As Mike Allen said about, I wouldn’t trust them to give me the correct time of day.

Dom S says:

What i want to know is…

(this should be viewed as if i am not remotely tech-savvy, much like the majority of internet users)
if someone hacks into my wireless, uses my connection to download pirated content and i get a warning letter.
if i dont know what im looking for (ie “my network places” router network details etc), how do i prove that its not me downloading?!

are the government now going to start employing (on wages paid by our ever-increasing TAXES) investigators who will come to your house, check your network for you and isolate a hacker…?

surely this cant work… if someone else uses their neighbours connection by hacking their network. that neighbour probably wont know how to find out that this is happening!

do the government EVER think about what they suggest?
do they not have experts to advise them on the implications of this policy?

F**king idiots!

Dave says:

Trust UK government?

Guilty until proved innocent. Hmm, what ever happened to due process of law? I can see this being a total travesty with next to no effort. As for trusting the UK government to get it right, I am in the darned country and wouldn’t trust them to organise the proverbial p*ss-up in a brewery. As for our “esteemed” prime minister, who seems to have had his humour chip removed, the sooner he is disposed of, the better.

jendelui (profile) says:

take a step back and consider the ol' mixtape

or photocopier… whatever – if you ever made a mix tape/recorded songs off the radio and gave it to a friend, that’s the equivalent crime that today the Govt says should get you kicked off the internet!? How can they take such a non-crime that actually helps the artists and labels make money, and make it seem like the most dispicable crime ever committed? How does anyone take them seriously? Take as an example ACDC – fairly well known now but when I was young they played to empty pubs often enough. It was people like us, getting the word out that created and extended the fan base. Those people are now to be classed as pirates and to be despised and shunned by society – kick them off the net, they’re spreading culture!!!!

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