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France gets tough with net piracy

Right-wing French President (opens in new tab), Nicolas Sarkozy, has given his accord to allow web firms to monitor what data their customers will be shuttling to and fro, essentially eaves-dropping on every single byte transmitted.

He hailed the deal as "decisive moment for the future of a civilised internet".

The news comes as an anti piracy body which came forward with this proposition, agreed to speed up the release of new movies to DVD and shunning DRM from music being sold.

Whoever would (opens in new tab) be caught pirating files would risk being disconnected all together from the internet, although how encrypted files could be monitored would be interesting.

Convicted file sharers would be given three chances, after which they would be thrown out of the internet.

It also poses the interesting question of how to make ensure that the right person is convicted (especially when using a shared internet line).

A new public body will be created by the French government to monitor internet files for watermarked files and deal with complaints received from rights holders.

The French equivalent of Which? (opens in new tab), UFC/Que Choisir, has already sided with the consumers saying that these plans went against the universally accepted notion of "innocent until proven guilty".

The move is seen as a hardened approach to petty piracy by users rather than a penultimate blow to large piracy groups who can be handed fines of up to Eur 30,000.

Some have argued that it might probably be more useful if culprits' broadband were just throttled rather than cut altogether.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.