Download Squad
November 20, 2009

Often lauded as the ‘CCTV state’ and ‘the most surveilled country in the world’, the UK may soon deliver a killing blow to the Internet as we know it. Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing is reporting some leaked legislation from the UK government that would remove any kind of freedom or privacy that the Internet grants its users.

[efoods]The proposed amendments to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act would allow the Secretary of State (or ‘Pirate-Finder General’) to alter the law on an ad-hoc basis without approval by Parliament (the UK’s Senate).

Cory goes on to site the potential repercussions of these proposed changes:

1. Immediate remedies for copyright infringement — jail sentences and removal of Internet access can be meted out purely at the discretion of an unelected official (that is most likely under the sway and pay of media lobby groups).

2. The raising of pirate-hunting militia — the Secretary of State could “confer rights” to music labels and movie studios to help them protect their works. It would be within the rights of the copyright owners to compel ISPs, schools and businesses to hand over details of those using their network for ‘nefarious’ purposes.

3. Pirate-hunting duties could be forced upon ISPs — not merely content with perusing ISP records, the Secretary of State could force ISPs to act as gatekeepers. You can imagine how it might impact your surfing experience if a copyright lawyer is forced to peruse each and every one of your emails to check for plagiarism…

Cory goes on to cite other implications, but you should probably just go and read the article itself. And as he says, if you’re a Brit, or even if you know a Brit — this is serious news. You can’t really expect something like this to make it through government… but really… who knows?

[via Boing Boing]

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