Mandelson wants file-sharers' Internet cut off

The government is proposing an amendment to the Digital Britain report that will force ISPs to cut off users accused of copyright infringement -- and Peter Mandelson is behind it

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm

Unelected, twice-resigned, Teflon mandarin Peter Mandelson has waded into the debate surrounding Internet piracy. He is said to have ordered a draconian amendment to the Digital Britain report's measures to deal with copyright infringement, with the option of completely cutting off users from the Internet tabled for the first time.

The proposals, published at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills Web site, would obligate ISPs to "take action against individual, repeat infringers -- for example by blocking access to download sites, reducing broadband speeds, or by temporarily suspending the individual's Internet account".

Less stringent proposals to deal with copyright infringement were made in the the Digital Britain report released in June, with a vague timescale giving Ofcom until 2012 to have a bit of a sit down and a think about whether technical measures were called for. But the government statement issued today suggests this could be too long to wait, "given the pressure put on the creative industries by piracy," and adds the possibility of completely suspending users' accounts, which wasn't in the original report.

The BBC is reporting that Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is personally involved in speeding things up. We're sure this is nothing at all to do with starstruck Mandy's recent cosy dinner with David Geffen.

We just hope that what happened in France happens here: someone important points out this is a stupid idea. So our only hope is senior British government types grasping technology? We're all doomed.