3 Strikes Plan Re-established In Ireland After Court Decides To Ignore Data Protection Commission Ruling
from the protect-what-data? dept
A few years back, IFPI sued Irish ISP Eircom for not waving a magic wand and stopping infringement. It was part of the legacy entertainment industry’s strategy to try to force ISPs into kicking people offline under a 3 strikes regime, even if they couldn’t get a law to that effect (the two key places where this was tried were in Ireland and Australia). Eircom actually folded and agreed to start kicking its own customers offline on a 3 strikes (accusations, not convictions) approach, as long as the legacy recording industry also pressured its competitors to do the same thing. Of course, once Eircom started, it totally screwed up and sent a bunch of notices to people who were entirely innocent, triggering a governmental review. The end result was that the Irish Data Protection Commission rejected the 3 strikes system, over significant concerns about how it involved spying on customers.
The labels fought back… and have now won. A court has rejected the findings of the Data Protection Commission (DPC) and argued, amazingly, that there are simply no privacy concerns at all with having ISPs track what you do online. Well, that’s not quite how the court put it. Instead, it said that there’s no privacy questions involved in “the detection and punishment of individuals who engage in unlawful Internet file-sharing.” Er… considering the whole issue that kicked this off was false accusations against those who did not engage in such things, it seems the judge is pretty confused. Furthermore, the judge seems to think that there’s a way to spy on users, but only track their infringing efforts. The problem — and the main privacy concern — is not so much in the tracking of infringing activity, but all of the legitimate activity that gets tracked as well.
Perhaps Justice Peter Charleton should open up his own log files to the public so that we can see if he’s infringing. There is, according to his version of things, no privacy violations there, because we all promise only to make sure he’s not breaking copyright law.