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02/12/2008 06:40 PM ID: 68438 Permalink   

Britain to Ban Net Access to Illegal Downloaders


A recently leaked government proposal to ban British net users who engage in illegal downloads surfaced on Tuesday.

The government is moving to legislate requirements on British internet service providers to take action against users who engage in illegal file sharing.

The plan would use a three strike method for its enforcement method.

An e-mail warning on first offense.

Temporary suspension of service upon second offense.

Termination of service to occur on third offense.

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  The Determination?  
Who determines WHAT is illegal?

If I am DL'ing 1.3GB of split files, is it an illegal DVD, or Starry Night astronomy data?

In this case of 1.3GB, it's Star data from a non-vendor FTP server, it's shared and free for the public.
  by: Discarded Vet   02/12/2008 07:06 PM     
  The only way that they would know  
would be to monitor the content. I guess that it goes hand in hand with the Big Brother cameras.
  by: walter3ca   02/12/2008 08:16 PM     
  They can try  
All that will happen is everyone will start encrypting all their traffic so the isp's can't spy on what your downloading.

throw in a few anonymising proxies and I really don't see where they could go with this.

they will only be able to target inept net users who don't know any better
  by: sparky_fox   02/12/2008 08:27 PM     
  you still go through your ISP first  
before you touch a proxy.
  by: hl2k   02/12/2008 08:58 PM     
  UK article

"Users suspected of wrongly downloading films or music will receive a warning e-mail for the first offence, a suspension for the second infringement and the termination of their internet contract if caught a third time, under the most likely option to emerge from discussions about the new law."

So all you need to be is "suspected" to eventually have your internet terminated. Proxies, encryption, onion routing, whitelists, and blacklists all will mean nothing when all they have to do is suspect you of illegal filesharing. Those linux distros you have been seeding can get your internet permanently shut off.
  by: LuxFestinus     02/12/2008 09:38 PM     
I was about to make the same comments as a few have already made. Turn on full encryption on your BitTorrent, etc. However, none of that helps when you are only needing to be 'suspected' and in that case my guess is they are filtering the "illegal downloaders" by bandwidth used. But that can be total BS considering that one can have excessively high bandwidth from even legal content.
  by: Daev     02/12/2008 10:19 PM     
  Very Dangerous Proposal  
Consider this like putting up a camera and microphone in your home that the government controls. Now yes the ISP would have to monitor your ip packets. But most ISPs also give you software to install. If the PC the user were to help to filter for the ISP (and they would look into this) it would be far less work for the ISP. How far will they go into looking for "illegal" downloads?
Well movies ya, but the little things are the scary part. To filter books (think harry potter) all emails. To filter ringtones (some songs made more on the ringtone than the single)all email downloads. And ofcouse not just p2p for this but also Instant messenger services must be filterable. So they would have to be able to watch you on your webcam and see what files you are sending with your buddies.

This should be seriously and vigorously protested.
  by: ericcode   02/12/2008 11:05 PM     
The U.S. and England with others have been monitoring every electronic comunication for years and using the information gathered for security and industrial gain. The U.S. government fed information to Boeing about Airbus to give it an advantage in the markets.
It is also believed that the English have accsss to Echelon to feed information to the U.S. government about american citizensthere by avoiding restricions on direct spying on citizens. What do you think the odds are that large corporations in the U.S. and England can't get internet usage information on anyone.
  by: ichi     02/12/2008 11:55 PM     
  no fun..  
Between the spy cams every 15 feet and the Internet Police, I would have a miserable time in Britain.
  by: rasputin502     02/13/2008 06:18 AM     
  It's time  
the movie/music industry was told 'your business, your problem' rather than having the government introduce draconian laws for their benefit. How many other industries get such strong protection.

I'm betting some ISPs will use this as an excuse to get rid of heavy bandwidth users they don't want.
  by: ixuzus     02/13/2008 09:03 AM     
  I'm curious  
How do they send me an email?

They dont know my email address...

ISP's really dont want this, so I f9ind it very unlikely it will be enforced in any serious way.

Just dont install the software they give you, and you'll be fine.
  by: AnsweringQuestions     02/13/2008 09:29 AM     
  We're living  
in Orwell's 1984.
  by: Maxx20     02/13/2008 10:01 AM     
  Thing is with computers  
There is ALWAYS someone smarter than 'the man', and just as crackers, hackers and programmers find a way to get around every other problem in computing, someone will find a way to get around this one.

UK government is going to be fighting a losing battle. Which I'm sure they won't mind, because that means they'll have to spend more money on it!

Which means they'll have to raise taxes!
  by: Daniel2508     02/13/2008 01:59 PM     
Most if not all files are marked with a hash mark, a string of numbers/letters to identify the file. So potentially every file ever created can be monitored.

I found this out a couple years ago when I was downloading a movie. About 1 week after I downloaded, watched then deleted this movie, I was contacted by my ISP, I wont give you the name but they are a major corperation.

I was told that the download I had done was monitored ( tagged ) to keep track of it's use. My ISP was told to hand over to them ( movie industry ) my IP, name etc., thankfully my ISP refused to divulge this information based on the privacy act.

What my ISP told me was that I was in danger of being sued for copywrite infringement as well as the ISP for "obstructing justice". I was instructed by my ISP to delete the file asap and to stop downloading from the source I was using, they also informed me that they would stand by my right to privacy for as long as they were able to.
I have heard no more about this since.

That was scary knowing that all the "industry" had to do was maybe push a bit harder on this ISP and I may be in jail right now, even though I used this file 1 time then deleted it.
I still download, but I am much more carefull on where the file comes from.

Although you never really know.
  by: SubtleCorpze   02/13/2008 02:01 PM     
Hash marks do identify a file, but they're not like putting a girt tag on it. A hash mark will only identify a file if you already knew beforehand exactly the hash mark you were looking for.

In all honesty, it would be a monumental task to monitor all of these internet connections. The sheer amount of traffic that goes through the internet is staggering. And more importantly - when you download a file, it doesn't come in a straight line direct from the source - it comes in packets from the source, and each individual packet will be routed whichever direction offers the best speed at that moment in time.

Hence, if they want to monitor everyone's downloads... they'd pretty much have to have some sort of tracking software on every single ISP router in the country, and THEN that software would only have select packets from that download (as other packets of the same file would be sent via other routers), and THEN you'd have to consider that these routers are ALREADY processing information at a staggering rate... recording all the traffic that goes through a single ISP router would need a tremendously large hard drive and no doubt a super-fast processor to get all the number crunching done in real time in order to not fall behind the traffic as it comes through.

And all of that is assuming that the data is NOT encrypted.

As with all things the UK government does, this is a pointless piece of legislation that wastes yet more of the hard working tax-payers money. And personally, I suspect that the motives for them wanting to put these sort of 'internet-monitoring' ideas in place go far beyond simply looking for copyrighted files.
  by: Daniel2508     02/13/2008 02:11 PM     
"And personally, I suspect that the motives for them wanting to put these sort of 'internet-monitoring' ideas in place go far beyond simply looking for copyrighted files".

  by: SubtleCorpze   02/13/2008 02:32 PM     
  Easy to suspect  
If you're monthly usage is over 10 gigs of downloading and 5 gigs of uploading, it makes you pretty suspect to further investigation.

Easy fix is to encrypt all files via RSS before they leave your computer and decrypted on the other side. The hard part would be sending the "key" to the decrypting computer without the isp also being able to identify it.
  by: halfnhalf702   02/13/2008 06:06 PM     
  Secure Shell  
SSH Tunneling For the Win.
  by: f33rx   02/13/2008 08:37 PM     
  Agree with...  
...the people who mentioned the fact that no matter how clever the government's system is, and how good their IT guys are, there will always be someone on the outside working for us. That's the exact reason piracy still happens today, because whatever protection you put in place, it will be cracked.

It sounds scary but from remote locations (i.e. without actually sitting with you watching what you're doing) I doubt they're going to have much success.

However, one sentence in the proposal does worry me somewhat, and that is the line "Users suspected of wrongly downloading films or music will receive a warning e-mail for the first offence". Has this simply nto been thought through (that most people use email accounts not connected to your ISP) or do the government already ahve a system in place to easily gather information on your yahoo/msn address?
  by: barryriley   02/13/2008 08:40 PM     
I dont think this will work, innocent people will get their internet connection shut down and the real downloaders will probably get away with it. And how can they determine if the file are illegal material under the copyright law or free ware.
  by: iBye   02/14/2008 12:08 AM     
  @ barryriley  
"....or do the government already ahve a system in place to easily gather information on your yahoo/msn address?...."

I know a gazillion users that use their real infor when signing up for online email accounts.

But someone like me? pphhfftt, going to be hard to find one "Mr. Dicarded Vet" in a state that isn't even in my actual time zone. I have several emails, and not one of them bear any resemblance to one another.
  by: Discarded Vet   02/14/2008 09:13 AM     
You HAVE to be ENGLISH to believe this. My could you be so naive? I would think that some ways to ban illegal downloads would go like this.(Obviously, I do not agree with them! AT ALL!)

1. Reduce bandwidth usage. 20-30Gb per month IS asking for trouble!

2. Make the bloody entertainment cheaper! I'd rather buy originals at £3 than copy the damn things! This goes for music, video, and of course games, which are far too expensive!
  by: grillomalta   02/18/2008 08:59 AM     
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