Lord Mandelson’s Dangerous Downloaders Act

My two-pennyworth in today’s Times .

The consultation document says the Carter plan would take too long to implement “given the pressure put on the creative industries by piracy”. Instead, ISPs would be obliged to block access to download sites, throttle broadband connections or even temporarily cut off access for repeat offenders. It is clearly envisaged that the new measures will be bundled into the Bill, which will implement the main proposals of the Digital Britain report.

If that does indeed happen, then the nearest legal precedent is the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991, an unworkable statute passed in response to tabloid hysteria about pitbull terriers. There’s no evidence that anyone in Lord Mandelson’s department has thought through the implications of giving in to the content industries. For one thing, there are the technical, financial and legal burdens the proposals would put on ISPs, which would be required not only to act as security officers for the entertainment industry, but also to enter the minefield of terminating people’s internet access on grounds that could be questionable in law.

The only people who think this is simple are either industry lobbyists or those who don’t understand it…