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October 20, 2009

Public rejects government file sharing crackdown

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by Darren Allan

After TalkTalk’s attack on the government’s plans to cut off illegal file sharers last week, a YouGov poll has shown the overwhelming majority of the public are against a “guilty-until-proven-innocent” stance.

The poll showed that 70% of respondents don’t support the plans to disconnect those suspected of illegally distributing files online.

Only 16% were in favour of automatically imposing Internet bans on those accused of illegal file sharing.

The problem is that pirates can always resort to other means to get around the law, such as encryption, or indeed hijacking someone else’s connection which would land an unsuspecting third party in trouble.

Hence most people are, unsurprisingly, in favour of a court considering evidence before any bans are imposed.

Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group which commissioned the survey, said: “This poll shows people rely on the Internet, and an overwhelming majority think that access should only ever be withdrawn as the result of court action.”

“Clearly Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, is out of step with public opinion and should think again.”

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