TalkTalk to resist govt piracy plans

Thursday, October 29 2009,

TalkTalk has said that it will mount a legal action against the government's plan to cut off the internet connections of online copyright violators.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson yesterday confirmed that the net services of persistent illegal file-sharers will be blocked from summer 2011.

The "three strikes" approach will involve staggered warning letters being issued to offenders followed by the suspension of their connection if they continue to engage in illegal file-sharing.

Writing on the TalkTalk blog, the company's executive director of strategy and regulation Andrew Heaney said: "The approach is based on the principle of 'guilty until proven innocent' and substitutes proper judicial process for a kangaroo court.

"We know this approach will lead to wrongful accusations. TalkTalk will continue to resist any attempts to make it impose technical measures on its customers unless directed to do so by a court or recognised tribunal.

"In the event we are instructed to impose extra-judicial technical measures we will challenge the instruction in the courts."

Heaney also claimed that the government's approach will increase the frequency of Wi-Fi hacking by pirates to get around the measures.

TalkTalk recently staged a wireless stunt in Middlesex to show how easy it is to hack into most wireless networks, even if the user has basic security software enabled.

Instead of the punitive approach, TalkTalk wants the creative industries to develop new models to "stay in tune with technological and social trends".

However, the company also accepts that ISPs have a responsibility to act, and so it is currently developing film-style classifications for its broadband connections to help combat illegal file-sharing.

The government's piracy plans will be officially laid out in the digital economy bill coming at the end of November.