The new Digital Economy Bill, a piece of copyright crackdown legislation, would hold owners of open Wi-Fi connections in Britain liable for any form of copyright infringement conducted on their networks. There would be zero exceptions for individuals, businesses, public locations, libraries, universities, or small businesses.That could essentially kill the popular open Wi-Fi movement by making it too dangerous to businesses and universities to offer open services to their customers. Lilian Edwards, professor of internet law at Sheffield University states, "[The bill could] outlaw open Wi-Fi for small businesses. This is going to be a very unfortunate measure for small businesses, particularly in a recession, many of whom are using open free Wi-Fi very effectively as a way to get the punters in."
Very disturbing news articles from DailyTech and Telegraph — namely these two:
- British Piracy Bill May Kill Most Small Public Wi-Fi Connections
- Internet piracy measures 'will cost consumers £500m'
If this is indeed the case, Orwellian future is closer, than we used to think.
Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary, told the Times newspaper: “It is grossly unfair that Labour expects millions of innocent customers to pay extra each month because of the actions of a minority. By their own admission this will make broadband unaffordable to tens of thousands of people, which flies in the face of Government policy to increase take-up in disadvantaged communities.” ISPs have been vocally opposing the Bill for some time. BT described the measures as a “collective punishment”, while Carphone Warehouse called on the entertainment industry to pay for the measures, rather than consumers.