Ofcom creates piracy havens at small ISPs

Fleeing freetards could yet cause tiddler crackdown


Ofcom has decided that only fixed line ISPs with more than 400,000 subscribers will be forced to comply with the Digital Economy Act's controversial anti-filesharing provisions.

The communications regulator has informed the Internet Service Providers' Association of the benchmark, and said it intends to publish rules within the next two weeks. The decision marks the swift conclusion of talks we reported on towards the end of April.

It means mobile broadband operators will be exempt from the system. The fixed line ISPs that will be required to send warning letters to customers and potentially throttle their bandwidth or temporarily suspend their access are: BT, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Sky, Orange and O2.

KC, part of the KCOM Group, has less than 400,000 subscribers but does have a monopoly on fixed line internet access in the Hull area, so is also likely come under the regime.

Ofcom's move will be welcomed at dozens of smaller ISPs who target niche and business markets. They argued that the administrative overheads of matching IP addresses to customers and sending out letters would have been disproportionate to the level of copyright infringement on their networks.

For their part, rights holder organisations such as the BPI want to address mainstream consumers who may be persuaded to revert to accessing copyright works lawfully. Between them, the seven ISPs that Ofcom's code of practice will target control more than 95 per cent of the home broadband market.

However, a mass migration of copyright infringers to smaller ISPs is likely to prompt Ofcom to cast its net more widely.

Likewise, filesharing via 3G networks is not currently viewed as a major threat to creative industries. Operators also complained they are currently unable to match IP addresses and timestamps to customer details. It's possible their exemption could be reviewed once faster LTE networks are deployed in the next few years, potentially offering a realistic alternative to fixed line services.

Ofcom is under heavy pressure to draw up its code of practice for implementing the Act quickly. It had eight months from the day it became law on 9 April, to include three months for European Commission approval.

At first ISPs will only be obliged to send warning letters. If these do not reduce copyright infringement by 70 per cent in a year, technical measures such as bandwith restrictions and suspensions will be activated. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Beijing reverses ban on tech companies listing offshore
    Announcement comes as Chinese ride-hailing DiDi Chuxing delists from NYSE under pressure

    The Chinese government has announced that it will again allow "platform companies" – Beijing's term for tech giants – to list on overseas stock markets, marking a loosening of restrictions on the sector.

    "Platform companies will be encouraged to list on domestic and overseas markets in accordance with laws and regulations," announced premier Li Keqiang at an executive meeting of China's State Council – a body akin to cabinet in the USA or parliamentary democracies.

    The statement comes a week after vice premier Liu He advocated technology and government cooperation and a digital economy that supports an opening to "the outside world" to around 100 members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC).

    Continue reading
  • Nvidia teases server designs for Grace-Hopper Superchips
    x86 still 'very important' we're told as lid lifted on Arm-based kit

    Computex Nvidia's Grace CPU and Hopper Superchips will make their first appearance early next year in systems that'll be based on reference servers unveiled at Computex 2022 this week.

    It's hoped these Arm-compatible HGX-series designs will be used to build computer systems that power what Nvidia believes will be a "half trillion dollar" market of machine learning, digital-twin simulation, and cloud gaming applications.

    "This transformation requires us to reimagine the datacenter at every level, from hardware to software from chips to infrastructure to systems," Paresh Kharya, senior director of product management and marketing at Nvidia, said during a press briefing.

    Continue reading
  • Nvidia brings liquid cooling to A100 PCIe GPU cards for ‘greener’ datacenters
    For those who want to give their racks an air cut

    Nvidia's GPUs are becoming increasingly more power hungry, so the US giant is hoping to make datacenters using them "greener" with liquid-cooled PCIe cards that contain its highest-performing chips.

    At this year's Computex event in Taiwan, the computer graphics goliath revealed it will sell a liquid-cooled PCIe card for its flagship server GPU, the A100, in the third quarter of this year. Then in early 2023, the company plans to release a liquid-cooled PCIe card for the A100's recently announced successor, the Hopper-powered H100.

    Nvidia's A100 has already been available for liquid-cooled servers, but to date, this has only been possible in the GPU's SXM form factor that goes into the company's HGX server board.

    Continue reading
  • Zuckerberg sued for alleged role in Cambridge Analytica data-slurp scandal
    I can prove CEO was 'personally involved in Facebook’s failure to protect privacy', DC AG insists

    Cambridge Analytica is back to haunt Mark Zuckerberg: Washington DC's Attorney General filed a lawsuit today directly accusing the Meta CEO of personal involvement in the abuses that led to the data-slurping scandal. 

    DC AG Karl Racine filed [PDF] the civil suit on Monday morning, saying his office's investigations found ample evidence Zuck could be held responsible for that 2018 cluster-fsck. For those who've put it out of mind, UK-based Cambridge Analytica harvested tens of millions of people's info via a third-party Facebook app, revealing a – at best – somewhat slipshod handling of netizens' privacy by the US tech giant.

    That year, Racine sued Facebook, claiming the social network was well aware of the analytics firm's antics yet failed to do anything meaningful until the data harvesting was covered by mainstream media. Facebook repeatedly stymied document production attempts, Racine claimed, and the paperwork it eventually handed over painted a trail he said led directly to Zuck. 

    Continue reading
  • Florida's content-moderation law kept on ice, likely unconstitutional, court says
    So cool you're into free speech because that includes taking down misinformation

    While the US Supreme Court considers an emergency petition to reinstate a preliminary injunction against Texas' social media law HB 20, the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday partially upheld a similar injunction against Florida's social media law, SB 7072.

    Both Florida and Texas last year passed laws that impose content moderation restrictions, editorial disclosure obligations, and user-data access requirements on large online social networks. The Republican governors of both states justified the laws by claiming that social media sites have been trying to censor conservative voices, an allegation that has not been supported by evidence.

    Multiple studies addressing this issue say right-wing folk aren't being censored. They have found that social media sites try to take down or block misinformation, which researchers say is more common from right-leaning sources.

    Continue reading
  • US-APAC trade deal leaves out Taiwan, military defense not ruled out
    All fun and games until the chip factories are in the crosshairs

    US President Joe Biden has heralded an Indo-Pacific trade deal signed by several nations that do not include Taiwan. At the same time, Biden warned China that America would help defend Taiwan from attack; it is home to a critical slice of the global chip industry, after all. 

    The agreement, known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), is still in its infancy, with today's announcement enabling the United States and the other 12 participating countries to begin negotiating "rules of the road that ensure [US businesses] can compete in the Indo-Pacific," the White House said. 

    Along with America, other IPEF signatories are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Combined, the White House said, the 13 countries participating in the IPEF make up 40 percent of the global economy. 

    Continue reading
  • 381,000-plus Kubernetes API servers 'exposed to internet'
    Firewall isn't a made-up word from the Hackers movie, people

    A large number of servers running the Kubernetes API have been left exposed to the internet, which is not great: they're potentially vulnerable to abuse.

    Nonprofit security organization The Shadowserver Foundation recently scanned 454,729 systems hosting the popular open-source platform for managing and orchestrating containers, finding that more than 381,645 – or about 84 percent – are accessible via the internet to varying degrees thus providing a cracked door into a corporate network.

    "While this does not mean that these instances are fully open or vulnerable to an attack, it is likely that this level of access was not intended and these instances are an unnecessarily exposed attack surface," Shadowserver's team stressed in a write-up. "They also allow for information leakage on version and build."

    Continue reading
  • A peek into Gigabyte's GPU Arm for AI, HPC shops
    High-performance platform choices are going beyond the ubiquitous x86 standard

    Arm-based servers continue to gain momentum with Gigabyte Technology introducing a system based on Ampere's Altra processors paired with Nvidia A100 GPUs, aimed at demanding workloads such as AI training and high-performance compute (HPC) applications.

    The G492-PD0 runs either an Ampere Altra or Altra Max processor, the latter delivering 128 64-bit cores that are compatible with the Armv8.2 architecture.

    It supports 16 DDR4 DIMM slots, which would be enough space for up to 4TB of memory if all slots were filled with 256GB memory modules. The chassis also has space for no fewer than eight Nvidia A100 GPUs, which would make for a costly but very powerful system for those workloads that benefit from GPU acceleration.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022