Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

19th November 2009

Net loss

I got home to discover that people who have no clue what they’re doing have been put in charge of the UK’s Internet policy:-

First, Lord Mandelson:

Mandelson says in his letter that he is concerned about “cyberlockers” – websites that offer users private storage spaces whose contents can be shared by passing a web link via email.

“These can be used entirely legitimately, but recently rights holders have pointed to them as being used for illegal use,” Mandelson writes in the letter.

As an astute Guardian commenter points out, people’s homes can be used legitimately, but also used to store stolen goods. Therefore, by Mandelson’s logic, we should ban houses as well.

Rupert Murdoch, on the other hand, holds no official Government position, but regularly gets sucked up to by those in power (and those who want power), so we need to pay attention to him. But why is he so angry at Google? The search engine directs web users to his content, on his web sites, with his adverts.

Anyway, if he’s really so unhappy about search engines “stealing” his content, all he has to do is insert a 2-line robots.txt file in the root of thesun.co.uk to prevent it being indexed… and then watch his traffic plummet.

28th October 2009

Balk like a pirate day

It’s a victory for Lily Allen, as Peter Mandelson has announced plans to disconnect persistent file sharers.

I have mixed feelings about this. I do think that the people who create music and support that industry are entitled to be paid for their work (and when 7digital is charging as little as 50p for DRM-free MP3 downloads, is paying that tiny amount really too much to ask? Even for Michael Bublé?)

On the other hand, my civil liberty instincts are telling me this is a bad thing, as I’m far from confident that those accused of illegal file sharing will be allowed to access the due process of law and defend their accusations (there are, of course, many legitimate P2P networks out there).

Also, cutting internet connections totally is a draconian step. Most internet users need their connection to function in life and could not manage without it. In the near future, access to the net could be considered as essential as running water or electricity. Throttle their connections, block the ports, but don’t cut them off entirely.