According to the UK Guardian newspaper, moves are afoot to enable governments around the world to have the power to have a peep into your iPods.
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According to the article, as the heads of the G8 governments meet this week, they are also about to ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta), which “could let customs agents search your laptop or music player for illegally obtained content”.
The article also notes that “the European Parliament is considering a law that would lead to people who illicitly download copyrighted music or video content being thrown off the internet” and Virgin Media is now writing to hundreds of its customers at the request of the UK record industry to “warn them that their connections seem to have been used for illegal downloading.
Viacom gets access to all of the usernames and IP addresses of anyone who has ever used YouTube as part of its billion-dollar lawsuit in which it claims the site has been party to “massive intentional copyright infringement”.
According to the report, a draft copy of the EU legislation contains the paragraph: “Members shall provide for the provisions related to criminal enforcement and border measures to be applied at least in cases of trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy.” -which can clearly be interpreted as meaning that you could be stopped at Customs and quizzed about the contents on your iPod or laptop.
And as for ISPs, the next step could be that they could dob in downloaders with the backing of the law.
And the implications for privacy?, asks the Guardian — well unsurprising, as the signatories would include the “US, UK and China -which have widely diverging ideas on the topic”.
Internet freedom, it seems, is all in the eyes of the observer.