Feeds

ISPs face down Tories on file sharing

Cameron plan for internet police state rejected

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

ISPs have given David Cameron's call for them to block P2P music sharing short shrift, repeating their stance that they are not "the gatekeepers of the internet", as he insists.

ISPA, the industry trade association, told The Register it would be writing to the Conservative leader to explain its position.

In a speech to record industry bigwigs this week, Cameron said internet providers should be responsible for clamping down on piracy, comparing the problem to paedophilia and hate mongering.

He said: "ISPs can block access and indeed close down offending file-sharing sites.

"They have already established the Internet Watch Foundation to monitor child abuse and incitement to racial hatred on the internet. They should be doing the same when it comes to digital piracy."

A spokesman for ISPA said: "The Internet Watch Foundation is very focused in what it does and has taken a long time to get there working with the police. Unlike distributing images of child abuse, copyright infringement can be a civil offence.

"Any kind of blocking has to be the preserve of the courts."

The internet industry has consistently resisted years of attempts to turn it into a policeman for rights owners. The European E-commerce Directive recognises ISPs as "mere conduits" who are only liable if they attain "actual knowledge" of illegal content. The Conservatives appear to want to create a system which forces them to attain that knowledge.

In response to Cameron's comments, Malcolm Hutty, public affairs chief at Linx, the organisation which runs inter-ISP traffic, said: "Our technical experience shows that removal at source is the only effective solution: attempting to block traffic within the network is simply far too easy to get around for anyone who wants to.

"Blocking child abuse images may occasionally help protect users from inadvertently being exposed to such content, but this is quite different from preventing access to music sharing sites that users are actively seeking out."

Despite the industry's steadfastness on monitoring, Cameron's comments, combined with news that a Belgian ISP has been ordered to clean up copyright-infringing material from its network, are likely to reignite the issue.

ISPA's policies on P2P and content liability are here and here. Cameron's speech is here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.