ISP Gives Customers The Power To Ban BitTorrent

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An ISP in the UK is set to introduce a voluntary customer Internet censorship scheme. Charles Dunstone, chief executive of Carphone Warehouse/TalkTalk said the company would introduce parental controls for subscribers which would include a feature to ban BitTorrent sites.

As the music industry continues to pressurize anyone it believes can stop illicit file-sharing, its main focus remains ISPs. These service providers are often accused of doing nothing to stop the spread of pirated material on the Internet, despite being very well aware of it. The music industry wants to hold them accountable, the ISPs say it’s not their problem.

Previously the international music industry has taken legal action to order various ISPs in several countries to block The Pirate Bay, but to our knowledge none have offered to help block BitTorrent sites voluntarily – until now.

Charles Dunstone, chief executive of Carphone Warehouse which operates the ISP TalkTalk, said the company would introduce a cinema-style ratings system for web content.

Aside from the self-explanatory 18 rating, there will be two others. Parents setting their connection to U and 14 will trigger a pornography and gambling filter, but they will also have the power to ban file-sharing and BitTorrent sites too.

“This is something that we are going to do anyway, as a service to our customers,” Dunstone told FT. “But through doing it we can also help the content industry by blacklisting sites that have BitTorrent files on them,” he added.

It’s not difficult to see how a system like this might prove attractive to the music industry if used in conjunction with the proposed “3 strikes” mechanism. Customers receiving an industry warning after their account is flagged as sharing illicit files could then have the immediate option to switch on this ISP-level firewall to thwart their kids.

But like all ‘solutions’, for the tech-savvy they’re just another problem to be solved.


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