While many news sources reported last Friday that Sweden was going to get tough on illegal file-sharing, most failed to mention one of the most important parts of the statement. While it is true that Sweden is considering asking ISPs to identify file-sharers, ministers have ruled-out asking ISPs to police the network and remove access to the Internet for offenders. A comment in the Swedish press on the subject of ISPs reads:
“The proposal in the Renfors-review that ISPs should be given the right and be forced to shut down subscribers whose Internet subscription has repeatedly been used for infringing copyrights has met with strong criticism. Many have noted that shutting down an Internet subscription is a wide-reaching measure that could have serious repercussions in a society where access to the Internet is an imperative welfare-issue. The government has, because of this, decided not to pursue this proposal.” (Translation Vera Franz)
This is such an accurate statement, yet it seems to have bypassed a lot of policy-makers pushing for the “three strikes” approach. In an era where Internet has become a sign of social and economic inclusion, cutting access to the Internet for an entire family could prove more damaging than the perceived threat. Moreover, this steep punishment is being suggested as an administrative sanction performed by a private body. Whatever happened to due process of law and all that?
Update: Mathias Klang beat me to the story. He’s Swedish after all 🙂