Dear Glenda – the response

Followers of my Twitter and Livejournal will know I wrote to Glenda Jackson, my MP about the stupid ‘3 strikes’ rule that EU (not just UK apparently) are trying to pass with the Digital Economy bill, where if you’re caught 3 times filesharing they can cut off your internet.

Thinking ‘I don’t fileshare’ or ‘I use military grade crypto dark nets’ or ‘I use only mediafire or blogspot’ so it doesn’t affect you?

Well it will…pretty sure it means say goodbye to free WiFi in the EU (who is going to risk disconnection by strangers filesharing, like this example from the States where a whole town’s WiFi was shut down over ONE download?) which doesn’t bode well for the government’s other aims for a ‘Digital Britain‘, also the likes of Talk Talk (the ISP) threatening to sue the Government over this, and BT claiming the costs of policing will cost more than the losses, or at the very least will put up internet costs drastically (an estimated £25 EACH).

WiFi hacking will go up – people will just use other people’s connections, and let them take the rap – and as far as the current bill stands that would be tough, you’ll be disconnected without judge nor jury even though the popular WiFi standards now WPA and WEP have been hacked. In fact public sharing will go either way – either mass disobedience, or more likely all shared networks will go private for fear of disconnection…so no leeching off a neighbour’s network – or at least networks will cripple their connections and not allow any file or torrent downloads (not an easy nor simple thing to do atm).

People will use encryption more and more – like Tor. This might be a good thing, but interesting that M15 are against these proposals realising a mass move to crypto will make finding criminals harder, especially as the tools will probably get easier to use in response. More ambivalent about this one – but I don’t like the idea of say, child porn or actual terrorism (rather than ‘domestic extremism’ LOL) going unmonitored and more underground, do you? Not happy about making the police and M15’s job of tracking us all, Big Brother style easier though…I’m a fan of crypto but it’s an all-in or all-out situation, no use using PGP emails if none of your friends do.

One up side is apparently same legislation might make mashups legal – but only in your own home, don’t SHARE them, Nanny will now allow you to make them – even though you always could, like CD-ripping without sharing because no-one would know nor care. Silly huh?

Anyway I wrote to Glenda and unsurprisingly she is against signing the EDM and is anti-filesharing given her acting past and relationships with the movie industry, but she did write to Lord Mandelson on my behalf. So we’ll see.

I think the points about criminalising the wrong people, better licensing and also threatening the growth of legal digital uses as well are pertinent ones for Mandy – legislation like this is ALWAYS abused and misused, and will have knock-on freezing effects in other areas too. It’s definitely not a case of ‘I’m alright Jack’ because Jack will be made to pay for his own monitoring, chastisement and will lose more digital freedoms, rather than gain more.

And yes I’m sure filesharing mashups will be as illegal and probably as ‘3-strikes’ gaining as sharing whole movies and albums. And ignores the fact that people who share music also buy a lot of music also.

Relatio Clash


  1. Sable
    November 14

    I couldn’t agree more with everything in the post. We need to act now and act fast. The only addendum that I might add is that the way I read the proposal (and the way it has been implemented in France) you don’t need to have been “caught filesharing”. You merely have to have *been accused* of filesharing three times to have your internet connection taken away.

    On a sidenote (and you may have already seen this) Cory Doctorow posted data over at BoingBoing that shows that in the current climate artists are making more money than ever before:

    This is obviously a “very good thing” and in fact it definitely underlines which part of the industry these laws are protecting – companies who are sulking about having to change their once-profitable, but now failing business model.

  2. Don
    November 14

    Funny thats the first I heard Mandelson’s plans in the UK to disconnect users without legal due process (Boo)
    That just makes me wonder what will happen if they try to implement the same law in Finland (where I now reside) where they are trying to make a 1Mb broadband access a legal right.

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