Monday, July 07, 2008

Caught in the 'net

My cardiologist says that I should offer no thanks at all to the email correspondent who sent me this story.
Europeans suspected of putting movies and music on file-sharing networks could be thrown off the web under proposals before Brussels.

The powers are in a raft of laws that aim to harmonise the regulations governing Europe's telecom markets.

Among the amendments are calls to enact a Europe-wide "three strikes" law. This would see users banned from the web if they fail to heed three warnings that they are suspected of putting copyrighted works on file-sharing networks.

You may have noticed that our EU buddies are not overly keen on this whole presumption of innocence and fair trial concept, but the key word here is "suspected". This is because, of course, it is much easier to merely suspect someone of something than to prove that they, y'know, actually did it.

One can just imagine the pressure that the authorities will be under to make the targets set for numbers of people thrown off the web, eh? And it really makes it far, far easier if said authorities don't have to prove anything, just "suspect" you.

The targets call for 5% of 'net users to be thrown off within the first year? Piece of piss. You don't even need to prove anything: just take some dodgy sounding names of the National Identity Register (or whatever) and send 'em three warning letters and—hey presto!—you are on your way to meeting your targets.

Obviously, it doesn't actually matter if they are guilty or not; you are just doing what you're told, eh? And you will, of course, make sure that your own name never appears on the list and nor will those of your colleagues. After all, it would never do for these measures to apply to you, would it now? You devious, totalitarian little shitbags.

But this is the bit that really fucking hacked me off.
Other amendments added to the packet of laws allow governments to decide which software can be used on the web.

In addition it bestows powers on governments to decide which programs can be "lawfully" used on the internet.

You fucking WHAT?! Governments will decide what software can be used on the 'net? What level of software are we talking here? Will the EU need to vet PHP, Python, Ruby or Coldfusion? Or is it only applications build with those languages that will be allowed or what?

And what the living fuck do government ministers know about technology? Most of them are so fucking tech-illiterate that they are barely able to turn off the burglar alarm as they stumble drunkenly through the front door with their giggling, half-naked researcher thrusting her hips into said bureaucrat's crotch. The vast majority of them are barely able to use a phone.

And our MPs seem to be terminally confused by a standard desktop PC; or at least, this is what they would have you believe as they justify their sodding massive staff costs. The twats.

And you can bet your life that registering your software will not be free, oh no. And you can bet that it won't be a £50 admin fee either. No, it'll be a REACH-style thousands of fucking Euros and you'll have to have every single release and update tested, vetted and registered.
The Foundation for a Free Internet Infrastructure (FFII) warned that if the amendments were accepted they would create a "Soviet internet" on which only software and services approved by governments would be allowed to run.

"Tomorrow, popular software applications like Skype or even Firefox might be declared illegal in Europe if they are not certified by an administrative authority," warned Benjamin Henrion, FFII representative in Brussels, in a statement.

"This is compromising the whole open development of the internet as we know it today," he said.

Damn straight. This packet of laws is so absolutely barking, fucking insane that I had to check that it wasn't April Fool's Day. It is deeply, disgustingly totalitarian in nature and utterly unworkable in practice.

And, the key thing to remember is that, if this is passed, you can throw out every, single British government from now to kingdom come and this EU law will still apply.

FUCKING SHITSTICKS! I hate them all so very, very much...

UPDATE: there's an equally enraged comment from the Elusive Pimpernel...
The use of the word suspected makes my blood boil. Banned from the Internet - a service pretty much key for someone to function effectively in modern society - for being suspected of file sharing. It beggars belief.

Then compound that by them only wanting “authorised” applications to be run on the net. Jesus fucking christ.

It’s both totalitarian and unworkable and like all such measures won’t actually stop anyone who really wants to break the law in this way from doing so. File sharing? Encrypt your files. Oh though wait. That’s suspicious isn’t it? God help you if you’re sharing data with a client. Of course you could always pop a couple of CDs in the post HMRC style…

Well, that would give HMRC an excuse for their pisspoor security, eh...?


Mark Wadsworth said...

Why does the headline say "Europe votes..."? It should say "MEPs vote ...".

Not a sheep said...

What do you expect from a totalitarian organisation? The only role for the people is to pay tax and not cause any trouble. Any deviation from that will mean fines, punishment or imprisonment.

knirirr said...

Why does the headline say "Europe votes..."? It should say "MEPs vote ...".

I suppose that one reason is laziness, but there are many cases where "Europe" is used instead of "The EU" or "The European Commission" &c. &c. It makes it easier to label anyone opposed to whatever is being reported as "anti-European," i.e. and evil xenophobe.

Concerning the proposals, I am reminded of this FSF propaganda tale:

Anonymous said...

This is unbelievably depressing.

JuliaM said...

Words fail me. Oh, no, wait...

Bunch of c***s!

That's better.

pond life said...

If they started by making Windows illegal they might get my support.

no longer anonymous said...

Where's DES with his cutt-edge pro-EU arguments?

Personally I think it unlikely that the EU, arrogant thought it is, would dare to introduce these sorts of measures. It would have a direct and highly inconvenient impact on the regular activities of the average person and would probably provoke a mass response across Europe. Or at least I hope it would.

Elusive Pimpernel said...

Bonkers. Just fucking bonkers.

Reading that actually rendered me speechless for some good time.

And still all I can manage is profanities.

Wheres the underground? Wheres the revolution? Sign me up....

D-Notice said...

It's a French idea. Sarkozy tried to get it through the French parliament but failed, so he's going the EU route.

See this post on the Electronic Frontier Foundation as a background.

Roger Thornhill said...

It is not even MEPs vote, it is MEPs rubber stamp a motion curled out by the EU Commission.

To say it will be a Soviet Internet is not an understatement.

Anonymous said...

I love you, Devil.....are you single ;)

Devil's Kitchen said...

Yep. People just don't appreciate my sweet and patient nature...


Anonymous said...

I could show you my appreciation....heh heh.

Dodgy Geezer said...

Don't worry too much. There are a number of ways it is possible to spoof an IP address.

If this were ever to be enforced, a lot of random people might suddenly find that they were off the net for inexplicable reasons. I wonder how long it would keep going under those circumstances....

pagar said...

Don't panic guys.

The point about the internet is that it is the first ever medium that allows true freedom of expression. The genie is well and truly out of the bottle and I defy the conrolling tendency to get it back in again.

So far any attempts to stop file sharing have failed miserably and they will continue to do so.

Carl Richardson said...

Europe can take its stamp of approval stick it down its throat and choke on it.

ManFromTheFuture said...

It’s the start of EU internet monetisation. Prepare to be taxed. EU permits for software.

Also, what makes you think you have the right to spend your own money.

Opps! That last bit hasn’t been suggested yet.

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Old Holborn said...

I suspect the French are about to launch their own operating system and web browser which will be totally incompatable with any other computer system in the world.

Like they did with TV, phones, car hydraulics, banking systems, etc., etc.,

number 6 said...

Diablo and fellow readers in Hades. The EU is simply an extension of the national socialist/communist control model, using 'softer' methods of control than outright violence - although I suspect that as they teeter toward losing power that will come.

Every aspect of the 'citizens' life must be regulated. Deviation from the stated norms (except for the politicians) will not be tolerated.

Detention without charge for suspected crimes. Some nice special camps for re-education as to what it takes to be a "good European."

Impossible? Sure, just as a single currency for Europe was 'impossible' 20 years ago, or the abolition of British weights and measures and etc etc

Tomrat said...

Common Technological Policy anyone?

bintyd said...

I assume the "programs" they mean will most certainly be Bittorrent, Limewire, etc...?

spellchecker said...

Programs... hmmm. That could be lucrative for the EU if they try.

First the software companies have to apply for (very expensive) EU licences to get the 'seal of approval.' This cost is passed on to the consumer, natch.

Then the software made available to the public has to be vetted by another department, which they will do for a 'local fee.' This second department, to ensure fairness and equality, etc, has nothing to do with the first department. Here you join a queue for registration and evaluation in order to complete a health and safety appraisal for a fee.

(As part of this you may have to attend internet security information seminars, held at a city convenient for you at remarkably low cost to you.)

Third, all files transferred on the internet need to be checked for legality, so a new massive department (a staff so big it matches the population the size of Latvia) is set up and the checking fee is added to your bill.

So this comment, using my regular browser, could cost me around 130 euros. Plus it may take eight days to appear, allowing for cross-checking and associated procedures.

Thank goodness the EU is on our side or all this could be worse.