UK MPs Questioning Digital Economy Act: IP Address Does Not Identify Individual

from the oh,-now-they-notice? dept

We all know how the UK Parliament rushed through the Digital Economy Act with little debate (and few votes), and it appears that some MPs are finally realizing just how problematic the law is. Apparently MP Julian Huppert gave an interview where he claims that the Digital Economy Act “is deeply worrying.” He’s specifically concerned about the idea of kicking people offline, saying that the “blocking and disconnection issues” are part of what’s so worrying. He’s also quite concerned with the misguided idea that an IP address automatically identifies an individual:

“Firstly, there are people hacking into Wi-Fi — what will the consequences be for open Wi-Fi? What do you do about a cafe that gives it away free? Realistically, they can’t know what someone is doing on it,” he says. “This may not be an issue though, as the latest proposals seems to suggest they’ll be exempted if they’re not too big. But it’s the idea that you can simply identify who it is that’s wrong.”

It’s great to see such concerns get attention, but will Parliament actually do anything?

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Comments on “UK MPs Questioning Digital Economy Act: IP Address Does Not Identify Individual”

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Anonymous Coward says:

It’s nothing new from Huppert he was opposed to that part of the bill from the start.

But none of these are really the right objections.

When they should be questioning the role of trademark, patent and copyright, they are debating the finer points of how to keep them as they are, without upsetting the average citizen too much.

@tref (profile) says:

ip addresses

It isn’t difficult to envisage a scenario where someone will set up a botnet to download copyrighted material. Take over someone else’s PC and broadband – download the material and then take it off the PC.

Does the fact that this might be possible provide reasonable doubt in law? The IP address would still be tracked to the router doing the downloading but person owning the PC would be completely innocent – in fact a wronged party because someone would have stolen his bandwidth.

Rabbit80 says:

Re: Re: ip addresses

Not that you can download with a spoofed IP address though. The purpose of IP spoofing is to make it look like the data you are sending has originated from elsewhere – any response will simply go to the rightful owner of the IP address. A proxy does not affect this either – the chances of a proxy assigning somebody else’s IP address to you is NIL.

cannonfodder (profile) says:

police state

the corporations own the government this bill will not be changed for the greater benefit of the people.

the only good point is that recently the government announced that appeals will be free, but only at first.

However, the Department for Business will closely monitor the free appeals system, and reserve the right to introduce “small fees” later, because it “risks the possibility of large numbers of unnecessary appeals”.

guilty until proven innocent and only if you can pay for your legal representation. it also may be worth noting that the appeals panel are to be paid for, and hand picked by the media industry.

what the media industry want to avoid is our legal system, as there are already laws in place to deal with copywrite infringement but they dont want to pick up the bill, they want as they are getting the tax payer to foot the bill which is why they have continually tried to turn a civil matter into a criminal one.

the corporations/government, as they are one in the same, have effectively rewritten our rights on, guilty until proven innocent and we have the right to be judged by 12 of our peers.

cannonfodder (profile) says:

Who are the corporations behind the bill, the MPAA RIAA

lets not for get who is actually behind the MPAA – RIAA, these are the companies that need to be targeted and boycotted into changing their ways, purchase only 2nd hand media and do not purchase anything branded sony, why allow the fecktards to dictate Orwellian hardware DRM designed to take away rights of ownership not to stop piracy, anymore.

Name and shame the companies as all the **AA trade group name is for is to protect the corporate globalists from bad press.


# Sony BMG
# Warner Music Group
# Universal Music Group


# Sony Pictures
# Warner Bros. (Time Warner)
# Universal Studios (NBC Universal)
# The Walt Disney Company
# 20th Century Fox (News Corporation)
# Paramount Pictures Viacom—(DreamWorks owners since February 2006)

And these companies are all owned by these few, these are the companies that dictate our culture by promoting theirs & blocking indie artists:

# BMG (sony)
# Time Warner
# Viacom
# News Corp (Fox)


If Sony payola (google it) wasn’t bad enough to destroy indie competition you have this:

Is it justified to steal from thieves? READ ON.

RIAA Claims Ownership of All Artist Royalties For Internet Radio

“With the furor over the impending rate hike for Internet radio stations, wouldn’t a good solution be for streaming internet stations to simply not play RIAA-affiliated labels’ music and focus on independent artists? Sounds good, except that the RIAA’s affiliate organization SoundExchange claims it has the right to collect royalties for any artist, no matter if they have signed with an RIAA label or not. ‘SoundExchange (the RIAA) considers any digital performance of a song as falling under their compulsory license. If any artist records a song, SoundExchange has the right to collect royalties for its performance on Internet radio. Artists can offer to download their music for free, but they cannot offer their songs to Internet radio for free … So how it works is that SoundExchange collects money through compulsory royalties from Webcasters and holds onto the money. If a label or artist wants their share of the money, they must become a member of SoundExchange and pay a fee to collect their royalties.'”

cannonfodder (profile) says:

police state

and the beneficial side effects are very apparent.

The MPAA has updated one of its more ridiculous pro-censorship arguments; five years ago, they were telling lawmakers that blocking P2P would help block child pornography. Now they’ve presented at an information meeting in Mexico on ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret, far-reaching copyright treaty that contains provisions for China-style censoring firewalls for every country. The MPAA wants these national firewalls to block sites like The Pirate Bay, but the case they’ve made to lawmakers for it is: “Bring in a censoring firewall to block piracy and you can use it to shut off sites that embarrass your government, like Wikileaks.”

You can almost imagine the MPAA rep dry-washing his hands and licking his lips like a grand vizier manipulating a gullible sultan as he utters these words. During the Bush years, the MPAA recruited a bunch of Republican stalwart, ultra-conservative foot-soldiers (one of them told me that he believed in the Young Earth and Creationism). I can imagine that if you’re one of these square-jawed rock-ribbed types, you could believe that the government had the right to cover up murder and torture by blocking Wikileaks.

Alex Macfie (profile) says:

The article is a little unfair. There was opposition to the DEA when it was originally voted on — just nowhere near enough. Unfortunately, that situation has not changed (or has changed for the worse). The only party to oppose it at the time, the Lib Dems is part of the governing coalition, which officially supports it. So the Lib Dems in the government cannot advance party policy; this makes the number of MPs able to speak out against the DEA even smaller than before.
Julian Huppert is a new MP (since the 2010 election). He is also a Lib Dem backbencher (i.e. not part of the government) so can say what he likes without the burden of “collective responsibility” that falls on government ministers. Currently the best way to get change in government policy on DEA is to ensure that Lib Dem backbenchers articulate party policy on it, and get them to influence the Lib Dems in the government to move the government policy towards opposition to the DEA.

SpookyLilGirl (profile) says:

Big Brother

Once again the government is over stepping certain boundries. 1) there is no way to know who is at the KB 2)people steal WiFi 3)How can you deny service without proof. Lets switch this around– when a government mess’s up say — not preventing an oil spill, then lets make them close down after three oil spills they didnt prevent– Its just plain stupid as H311

Anonymous Coward says:

Multiple People Behind One IP Address

It is nice to see the pollies finally waking up that there can be multiple people behind one IP address. Therefore it is legally unsafe to accuse the account holder. It is a shame that it took the pollies so long. Do not forget that small $50 routers are routinely set to do Network Address Translation (NAT). That allows multiple computers to connect to the Internet via one IP address. This technique is common in larger families, businesses and educational institutions. There can easily be dozens of people behind one IP address. IPV4 would have fallen over long ago if it had not been rescued by NAT.

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