Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan said today “Minister of State Sean Sherlock should think twice before signing an order which would force Internet Service Providers to block access to certain internet sites. By signing the order he will do real damage to our growing digital economy which is providing real jobs, enterprise and Innovation.
We do need to protect the rights of our creative content industries but the Government is going about that task in the wrong way. Their solution is akin to treating a broken arm with an operation which involves open heart surgery.
Rather than interfering in the fundamental right to privacy by checking peoples internet use and blocking access to certain sites the Government should be tackling the problem at the other end. New methods are now being developed which can regulate the search, payment and advertising companies so that traffic to and from the illegal pirate sites is reduced. Monitoring and blocking individual’s traffic won’t provide greater protection from piracy because the worst offenders will always find ways of hiding their Internet address which will undermine the whole approach.
The Department of Enterprise are citing a judgement from Justice Charlton which argued that such regulations were needed under European Law. However a recent European Court of Justice ruling argued against such a restriction of internet access in its decision on a similar Belgian case. It is reported that our own Data Protection Commissioner is also now raising concerns about the infringement of privacy rights for Eircom customers who can have their internet access cut off following monitoring of traffic by the content rights companies.
It is hard to believe that our Department of Enterprise could be involved in such a move. They seem to have no understanding as to how the internet could or should evolve. Their regulations will harm one of the few bright spots in our economy and will do little or nothing to help the content industries that they intend to protect. Minister Sherlock should think again.”
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