New threats for UK file-sharers

By EDRi · July 16, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

After the letters sent from Virgin Media to its customers on alleged
file-sharing activities, British Telecom (BT), the UK’s largest broadband
provider, has started a similar activity.

The Register has received information from one of the BT subscribers that
has received such a letter from the Customer Security Team
stating: “”I have received a complaint regarding one of our customers
offering copyrighted material over the internet. On investigation, I have
found that your account was used to make this offer.”

The letter contained evidence put forward by BPI, that was shared by BT with
its customer and consisted, in this case, of the P2P programme Ares user
agent, a time stamp, a file name and an IP address. The letter provided
information on how to secure their WiFi connection, but also threaten with
disconnection if similar activities continued: “Sorry, but we’re obliged to
point out that further similar problems may have to lead to the termination
of your account, as such activity contravenes BT’s Acceptable Use Policy.”

More aggressive threats have been reported being sent by Virgin Media to
approx 800 subscribers with the following text on the envelope: “Important.
If you don’t read this, your broadband could be disconnected”. Virgin Media
spokeswoman claimed that the text was a mistake and explained that this was
part of an education campaign: “”We are not accusing our customers of doing
anything, we are alerting them to the fact that illegal file sharing has
been tracked to their account. This could have been someone else in the
house or an unsecured wireless network. This is an education campaign.”

In sending these letters, the ISPs do not share confidential information
with BPI and do not monitor their users, but only receive from the BPI
investigators the collected IP addresses of the customers having
participated in alleged p2p copyrighted material sharing. The ISP identifies
the exact individual and sends him (her) the template letter.

Even though the BPI campaign has attracted two of the major British ISPs in
this “education campaign”, other ISPs have promptly rejected such
collaboration. Carphone Warehouse make it clear that they just give access
to Internet:
“We are the conduit that gives users access to the internet. We do not
control the internet, nor do we control what our users do on the internet. I
cannot foresee any circumstances in which we would voluntarily disconnect a
customer’s account on the basis of a third party alleging a wrongdoing”,
said Charles Dunstone, the chief executive of Carphone Warehouse, to BBC.

Virgin admits disconnection threat mistake (3.07.2008)

We won’t cut off users, says Virgin (3.07.2008)

Virgin warns 800 punters for file-sharing (3.07.2008)

BT starts threatening music downloaders with internet cut-off (26.06.2008)

EDRi-gram: British ISPs warn Internet downloaders on the risk of being
prosecuted (18.06.2008)