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UK ISP gave up direct disconnection of file-sharers for a three strikes

29 July, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Britischer ISP gibt direkte Trennungen der Verbindungen von File-Share...

UK ISP Karoo belonging to Hull based KCom telecom company, announced on 24 July it would change its policy and apply a three-strikes system for the customers allegedly infringing copyright.

Within the agreement with the entertainment industries, the UK ISPs have agreed to send out warning letters to users suspected of downloading copyrighted material from the Internet. Karoo, holding the monopoly in Hull as the only ISP in area, has been exceeded this procedure for some time now, having directly disconnected its users for suspected file-sharing. In order to get their service restored, customers had to sign a document admitting their guilt and promising not to repeat the offence. Therefore, the method not only ignored the presumption of innocence but actually blackmailed users by obliging them to admit guilt in order to be reconnected.

Following the exposure of the company's policy by BBC which made public the case of a customer having been disconnected and asked to fill in a form admitting her guilt in order to be reconnected, Karoo decided to adopt a three-strikes rule in which suspected file-sharers will receive three written warnings before action is taken.

The major issue is that Karoo takes its actions without any court decision, based only on accusations made by anti-piracy organizations which use evidence gathering methods that are far from being accurate or reliable. Although rights holders have stated that their data was never wrong, a report made last year by the University of Washington, Department of Computer Science and Engineering has clearly shown the vulnerabilities of the methods.

"Whether a false positive sent to a user that has never even used BitTorrent or a truly infringing user that relies on incomplete IP blacklists, there is currently no way for anyone to wholly avoid the risk of complaints.(...) We have further demonstrated that IP blacklists, a standard method for avoiding systematic monitoring, are wholly ineffective given current identification techniques and provide only limited coverage of likely monitoring agents" says the report.

Therefore, as the report and reality have shown, there is a large risk that innocent people are accused of illegal file-sharing.

Plug-pulling ISP changes policy (24.07.2009)

Kang-Karoo courts: guilt by accusation, punishment without trial (24.07.2009)

Karoo backs down and adopts 'three strikes' policy for illegal p2p file sharers instead of immediate cut off (24.07.2009)

UK ISP Cuts Off Alleged Pirates (24.07.2009)

Challenges and Directions for Monitoring P2P File Sharing Networks ,or, Why My Printer Received a DMCA Takedown Notice" (1.06.2008)



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