dontdisconnectus petition: update

30 11 2009

The following petition has reached 27,645 signatures at the time of posting.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to abolish the proposed law that will see alleged illegal filesharers disconnected from their broadband connections, without a fair trial.

Submitted by Andrew Heaney of TalkTalk – Deadline to sign up by: 20 October 2010 – Signatures: 27,645″

The fact that TalkTalk have submitted the petition, and the CEO Charles Dunstone has been vocal in his condemnation of the government’s plans, may reflect the fact that ISPs will bear the brunt of the implementation and monitoring costs.

Dunstone has the backing of the The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) which also ‘strongly opposes’ the file sharing disconnection plans. Instead of going after file sharers, say the ISPs, the government should be pushing the content industries into developing business models that users actually want to use and are prepared to pay for.

It strikes me that the post-bureaucratic message is still firmly embedded within a bureaucratic mindset; even the excellent Open Rights Group

The Guardian have provided some powerful arguments against the sweeping powers of ministers put forward in the bill, and stresses a fundamental point. “Instead of treating the web as a platform of possibilities, it recasts it as a tool for mass theft.”

Power over digital activity and content will not be applicable to the land of music pirates and illegal downloaders. As we move into the post-bureaucratic age, the scope of ‘digital activity and content‘ will expand so dramatically, that this will begin to impinge on more fundamental civil liberties. The relative scarcity of legislative or legal precedents could potentially allow those in power to push the ‘flexibility’ they possibly require (to keep pace with technological innovation) into new areas of life.

The idea that ‘there might be something illegal going on’ does not give the state power to interfere with an individual’s private activity  for no reason; we must watch carefully to ensure that  this remains the case when the medium of activity is digital.

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