I have an op-ed in today’s Times about the British plan to disconnect people from the internet if someone in their home is accused — without proof — of infringing copyright, and how utterly unjust this is.
Even more radical is the Mandelson proposal to disconnect entire families from the internet if a single member — or a neighbour who uses their internet connection — is accused, without proof, of violating copyright. Leave aside the fundamental injustice of collective punishment, a practice so abhorrent that it is outlawed in the Geneva Convention; think instead of the utter disproportionality of this.
The internet is an integral part of our children’s education; it’s critical to our employment; it’s how we stay in touch with distant relatives. It’s how we engage with government. It’s the single wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. It isn’t just a conduit for getting a few naughty free movies, it is the circulatory system of the information age.