ISPs to bar illegal downloaders? Yeah, riiight...

I nearly fell of my chair with laughter when I saw this morning that the government is planning to consult the Internet industry on barring/disconnecting punters who download files illegally.

Quite apart from the fact that they'd probably have to disconnect half of the UK's Internet users, is the minor issue that more people would then start using VPNs and encryption to hide their trails.

And then what about hopping on to some other poor sod's unsecured WiFi connection?

According to Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant with Sophos (fx: doffs cap in the presence of IT security royalty -Ed), a Sophos poll of 560 computer users carried out last November revealed that 54 per cent have stolen Wi-Fi internet access in the past.

"Pressure is being put on ISPs to take action, but an open Wi-Fi hotspot may mean that it is you who ends up disconnected from the net while your next door neighbour is happily watching the Hollywood blockbuster they stole via your Internet connection," he said.

"People who illegally download material from the net aren't going to have any qualms about stealing someone else's Internet connection," he added.

According to Graham, the widespread scale of the problem not only means that there are likely to be innocent victims, but it also gives those people who have been making illegal downloads a plausible

defence.

And what about free WiFi services? How are the government going to police these increasingly popular public Internet services?

A green paper on the issue? It might as well be blue (touch) paper, as you could set fire to it and watch it explode...