Monday, March 31, 2008

Virgin Media Sends File-Sharers Mixed Messages

UK broadband provider Virgin Media says they'll be the first UK ISP to voluntarily track their users' pirated file-sharing transfers, and will terminate the accounts of repeat "three strike" offenders.

The UK broadband firm has agreed to a test project that will scan for illegal copies of music and other media across the service. The monitoring will follow a three-strike rule that will see users receive a letter for a first violation; a second violation will result in a temporary suspension of Internet access, while a third will force the customer to cancel their service altogether.

However in a complete 180 of tracking file-sharing Virgina announced it will offer an enhanced service which will provide customers get free Usenet binaries access, untraceable by the ISP, music industry or nay other snoops out there.

Skype International CallingAccording to Reuters a Virgin spokesman said: “We’re delighted to be working with Highwinds to build out our newsgroup service. Our expanded access to newsgroups will give our customers a free news feed to newsgroups with exceptional retention, providing one of the best free newsgroup services in the UK.”

The British government has been pushing for legislation requiring ISPs to take action against users using their networks for illegal file-sharing. Virgin media would simply be taking a preemptive stance by teaming up with the UK's version of the RIAA, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

According to The Telegraph, "the BPI has teams of technicians to trace illegal music downloading to individual accounts. It will hand these account numbers over to Virgin Media, which will match them to names and addresses."

News like this saddening, it means a break down in the nature of the internet. While I don't condone nor do I participate in illegal file-sharing I whole heartedly disagree with content filtering, internet censorship or any other infringement on the free and open use of the web.

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