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Shoot to kill: Karoo relents

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Local ISP Karoo changed its disconnection policy this afternoon after a storm of publicity blew through the town of Hull.

Karoo had been terminating the accounts of alleged copyright infringers without warning or even notification - and required them to sign a good behaviour pledge before they could be reconnected.

Kingston-owned Karoo is a local fixed broadband monopoly, leaving Hull residents with no competition from cable or other DSL providers.

The company provided a statement from Nick Thompson, Karoo's Director of Consumer and Publishing Services:

"It is evident that we have been exceeding the expectations of copyright owners, the media and internet users. So, we have changed our policy to move in more line with the industry standard approach, whilst still taking the issues of copyright infringement and illegal internet activity seriously. Going forward, we will provide customers with three written notifications before their service is temporarily suspended.

"We encourage our customers to legally access copyrighted material through sites such as Spotify, Play.com and Amazon.co.uk via karoo.co.uk. Our Technical Support team is also available to provide advice to customers on how to ensure their broadband connection is secure and not open to abuse by others."

So Karoo becomes the first UK ISP to implement a Three Strikes policy.

One Karoo customer who found himself disconnected without notice, Danny Lill, told us he had to call Karoo to discover his disconnection.

"You've got to come into the office before 12:30pm and fill in a form saying that you won't do it again. They told us they had sent a letter informing us of the disconnection, but the letter never arrived."

Danny said he was downloading a copy of a game he'd legitimately purchased. Unfortunately that isn't legal, the license merely permits you to own a piece of plastic: but that's hardly 24x7 downloading. And without any kind of warning, he wasn't able to argue his case.

In a statement the Open Rights Group called it a "Kang-Karoo Court" [steady on, boys - Ed.] and said that suspension "could easily lead to loss of a citizen’s ability to partake in political action organised online."

More than one Hull reader has pointed out that with Hull's ancient copper infrastructure, there are better places from which to get your Torrents anyway. But for almost all Hull residents - a fibre project is underway in one estate - the choice is either Karoo or mobile. ®

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