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...?