Now that the Digital Economy Bill is now the Digital Economy Act â€“ a piece of legislation that has been bitterly opposed by many – a report in todayâ€™s Guardian says that the likelihood for innocent people to be accused of illegal file downloading has greatly increased because of this new law.
The newspaperâ€™s report cites the example of an innocent couple in Scotland who received threatening lawyersâ€™ letters accusing them of allowing illegal peer-to-peer file downloading from their internet account, and what it took for them to resolve it.
One aspect of the Guardianâ€™s report caught my attention as itâ€™s something I notice all the time â€“ unprotected wireless networks that anyone can hop onto and use, often without you even knowing about it.
[â€¦] "The essential flaw is always the same: copyright holders can link piracy to IP addresses, and these can be matched to a household’s internet account. But there could be tens of people using an IP address â€“ members of your family, visitors, neighbours, or somebody more unscrupulous."
He says the most determined pirates â€“ the criminals â€“ will cover their tracks, hijacking other people’s internet connections if they can.
If you run a wireless network, whether at home or work, and you havenâ€™t securely set it up with even baseline security like user passwords, youâ€™re now asking for real trouble, maybe of the type the Guardian’s story highlights. Relying only on your operating system or router firewall to protect you isnâ€™t enough.
So do yourself a favour â€“ check that your wifi is secure. Best to check the user manual or website of your router manufacturer for a product-specific guide.
A good summary of the Bill (now Act) from PaidContent UK: Digital Economy Bill: Quick Guide To All 45 Measures.
And if you have strong views about the Act, add your voice to Digital Economy Bill Ideas.