BT and TalkTalk, two of the UK’s biggest ISPs have taken the government’s digital bill to court over what they claim is unfair treatment of their companies. They state that the bill unfairly forces them as ISPs to police and snoop on their customers, invading privacy and forcing them to be regulators over something that they claim isn’t their responsibility.
“It is a big deal to be judicially reviewing primary legislation but we took advice and there were very clearly were some real problems,” said Simon Milner, BT’s head of industry policy.
“It might find that it is all fine – I’d be surprised if it was – but we are going to court to get legal clarity,” he added.
If it is found to be an unfair piece of legislature, the bill could be revoked. It was initially ploughed through at the tail end of the last govnerment’s term and rushed through parliament in an attempt to avoid extra scrutiny.
As it stands currently, content creators can view peer to peer networks for suspected illegal activity and can then petition ISPs to provide them with the information of the pirates by cross referencing their IP addresses. However, there have been several cases where people have been falsley accused and charged. Industry watchdogs and ISPs arn’t happy with incriminating innocent people.
“Innocent broadband customers will suffer and citizens will have their privacy invaded,” said Charles Dunstone, chairman of TalkTalk.
Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group stated that he believed the current bill basically made open WiFi hotspots impossible, as how can an IP address be tracked if someone moves into the area and out again?
“We need to start again and find a new policy settlement which embraces, rather than tramples on, the exciting possibilities that the digital age offers,” he said.