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October 16, 2009

TalkTalk attacks government file sharing crackdown

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by Darren Allan

TalkTalk has run some wi-fi tests in an effort to expose the naivety of the government’s proposed plans to tackle illegal file sharers.

The plans the government is considering would see repeatedly offending downloaders cut off from the Internet.

But as TalkTalk pointed out with its little stunt, it might not only be the big bad pirates who suffer disconnection.

The ISP drove around Middlesex and reportedly discovered 23 unsecure wireless networks. It then proceeded to download some music from several of them (after getting permission), just to illustrate that unwitting members of the public might be the victims of an Internet ban even though they’ve done nothing wrong (to their knowledge, anyway).

To add insult to injury, one of the tunes downloaded was a Barry Manilow number. (There’s no need for that, surely).

The BBC obtained a statement from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which said: “We realise it’s possible for mistakes to occur or for people to have their wi-fi connection hi-jacked. So it’s important we have an independent and easy route of appeal at all stages in the process.”

“At the moment we envisage a tribunal system to which people would have recourse before any action was taken against them.”

Even so, as TalkTalk points out, it’s still a case of guilty until proven innocent.

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