Webometric Thoughts

February 12, 2008

Three strikes and pirates will lose their internet connection

Filed under: ISP,UK legislation,wifi — admin @ 9:42 am

It is being widely reported that the UK government is considering requiring internet service providers to take action against people illegalling downloading music and films: email warning, suspension,and then termination of contract. Personally I welcome the move, although I have some reservations about the effect it will have on legal internet activity. The illegal downloading of films is a problem, and potentially a bigger problem than the illegal downloading of music. Whilst music can be produced relatively cheaply by amateurs, the rubbish on YouTube is not going to be making Hollywood quality movies any time soon.

The problem that is most often identified with such legislation is that of ‘piggybacking’, someoneelse using an open wi-fi connection. Whilst this can most often be sorted out by password protecting your wi-fi, some of the systems are not very good and can be easily hacked. The ISPs should have a duty to provide secure wireless encryption before they can suspend or teminate a contract. If they supply a secure system, then we can be expected to utilise it.

I am more concerned about the effect it will have on public wi-fi zones. Those coffee houses and pubs that make wi-fi freely available. Unless such places are excluded from any new laws, any legislation could hold back the growing adoption of certain mobile technologies.

So, if ISPs provide secure wireless encryption and the public wi-fi spots are excluded, I broadly welcome any legislation. It will also force parents to take more interest in what their children are up to online. Whatever they may say, they are rarely doing their homework.

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