If you live in the European Union and you like to share pirated files, you may want to start thinking about just how much your access to the Internet really means to you.
Although it has been threatened for ages, the European Parliament has finally given the go ahead for member states to start cutting persistent file-sharers off from their Internet connections according to the BBC. This follows a plan that the government of France has already adopted that could see people who trade pirated files lose their Internet connections for up to one year under a three strikes system.
Originally the European Parliament had put an amendment forward in its Telcecoms Package that would have required governments to get a court order to remove the pirate’s net connections, but that portion of the package has now been removed. The United Kingdom is also looking into similar legislation that is expected to be unveiled next month.
Originally the Telecoms Package included the following wording, but it has now been removed:
Any such measures liable to restrict those fundamental rights or freedoms may only be taken in exceptional circumstances…and shall be subject to adequate procedural safeguards in conformity with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.. including effective judicial protection and due process.
Part of the issue now, according to Forrester analyst Mark Mulligan, is that the new rules only target peer-to-peer file sharing as Internet Service Providers can detect that traffic. However, piracy is now moving past that to people sending files via instant messenger programs, in emails, using file sharing sites and so on. Mr. Mulligan feels that legislation will never be able to move at the speed with which the pirates and technology do so.
It is estimated that 14 percent of Internet users in Europe have engaged in some form of illegal file-sharing, now it is just a matter of catching them, which sounds as though it is easier said than done.