The eagerly awaited interim publication of the Government report on the future of digital industries in Britain has suggested that ISPs should be forced to take part in Westminster’s snooping campaign.
According to the authors of ‘Digital Britain’, the UK Government should introduce legislation forcing internet service providers to gather information on customers engaged in illegal file-sharing. The document also says ISPs should be responsible for handing out warnings to said unlawful file swappers.
Protecting rights-holders and punishing infringers is, of course, absolutely justifiable but why unfairly burden the ISPs with the responsibility to police the crackdown? The whole affair smacks of the Government legislating to force Britain plc to take part in its big brother operations. After all, let us not forget about Brown and co’s plan to capture and store everyone’s emails!
And it is not just about burdening the ISPs with a potentially costly responsibility that isn’t theirs to bear. It also affects general confidence and trust in the Internet. If users feel that their ISP is recording their user habits they are more likely to shy away and that cannot be a progressive course of action for Digital Britain.
Instead of press ganging ISPs to sign up to police state Britain, we should be looking at ways of encouraging legal Web usage. If providers offer a viable and more attractive legal alternative then the issue can remedy itself.
Why not try offering the carrot before bashing the Internet provider with a stick!