back to article TalkTalk to fight net disconnection plan

A major ISP has promised a court challenge to Government plans to allow the cutting off of internet connections used by people accused of unlawful file sharing. TalkTalk said it will challenge the plans in the courts. The Government commissioned a report on digital policy, Digital Britain, which did not recommend the cutting …


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  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    I'm with Talk-Talk on this

    Although I really hate their customer service (in India naturally).

    My WiFi service uses WEP. That I agree is very hackable. But as usual (especially with many journo's & surveys lately) they only ask half the question.

    Yes, the WIFI is hackable BUT can an unauthorised device connect to the Interweb once you have hacked the WEP password?

    Well, not in my case, as my router is setup to ONLY allow know MAC addresses to actually connect.

    As those annoying meerkats say, "Simple Really"

    On the otherhand, 5 out of the 8 other WLAN's I can see from my house are unsecured. Three have their default SSID broadcasting NETGEAR to the world. They are also all using the same default channel.

    Despite repeated suggestions from me and one other clued up neighbour (no we didn't hack their routers) none have modified their setup even though we have offered to help them do it for nowt.

    Pethaps instead of a ECDL we need a EWLDL. (European WiFi Driving License)

    Fail all round for blindingly obvious reasons.

  2. David 45

    Go for it

    Good for TalkTalk but I can't help pondering that it smacks a little of a publicity stunt on their behalf. Still, anything that slaps down that smarmy character Mandelson can't be all bad. It amazes me that he's still in some position of "authority" (I use the word VERY loosely!) after all his dodgy deals.

  3. EnricoSuarve

    Thank god at least one ISP still has some balls

    This stance and their general attitude to issues like this is one of the main reasons I chose TalkTalk.

    It's utterly ridiculous that the government insists one industry pay the price to police another, and continue to put forward plans to circumvent legal due process for their mates.

  4. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    Here, I'll fix it for you

    "The company is campaigning against the proposal, which is not yet official Government policy but is widely reported to be the favoured option of Lord Mandelson."

    "The company is campaigning against the proposal, which is not yet official Government policy but is widely reported to be the favoured option of the copyright mafia who bent the ear of Lady Mandy Mandelson who has been forced to resign for government office twice, once for taking an of an interest-free loan from Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson who was subject to an inquiry into his business dealings by Mandelson's department, and the second time for making representations on behalf of Indian businessman Srichand Hinduja who was seeking British citizenship, whose family firm was the main sponsor of the "Faith Zone" in the Millennium Dome while at the time they under investigation by the Indian government for alleged involvement in the kickbacks from Bofors for winning a bid to supply India's 155 mm field howitzer.

    In 2009 the Independent reported that Mandy was persuaded of the need to try to reduce illegal file-sharing after an intensive lobbying campaign from influential foreign people in the entertainment and banking industries. The Independent also reported that this included a meeting with DreamWorks co-founder David Geffen at the Rothschild family villa on the Greek island of Corfu.

    Mandy also attended the 1999 and 2009 annual conferences of the Bilderberg Group.

    There fixed it for you.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Proud TalkTalk customer AND EU citizen

    "The European Parliament is locked in a battle with the European Commission and Council over the issue. It has inserted into a Telecoms Package of reforms a clause declaring disconnection without court oversight illegal."

    I've always been a bit of a Euro-skeptic (Not phobic), but with the fines for Phorm and now this the EU is looking better by the day!

    Though i'm not sure its not just because we are looking catastrophically worse, sill, bring 'em on!

  6. Jess
    Thumb Up

    Go Talk talk

    Glad I'm with them.

  7. Rob Beard
    Thumb Up

    I never thought I'd say this but...

    ...Talktalk have really gone up in my view. They appear to be standing up for the little guy and fighting this stupid law.

    Okay fair enough they are probably looking out for their bottom line (disconnected customers surely must mean lost revenue) but still, if it stops Mandy in his tracks then that has to be a good thing.

    Hopefully the other big ISPs (Virgin, BT, Orange) will follow suit. I won't hold my breath about Sky though, I mean they'd rather everyone subscribe to watch TV and movies.


  8. irish donkey

    Another expert opinion to be ignored

    Best keep it to yourself.

    I get the feeling that if your expert opinion doesn't agree with the Government then you will be looking for a new job.

    Can't wait until the next government expert study.

    It maybe something along the lines of Terrorists are lying on their applications to get into the best schools.

    Go talk talk but I fear you fight is doomed by our government stupidity

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE:I'm with Talk-Talk on this

    MAC filtering, very easily bypassed. Once you have the wep key, you can see all the mac addresses of the computers on the wifi connection, then you have 2 options, wait for them to disconnect and then use the mac address, or kick the computer off the wifi.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    If we apply mandy rules to other crimes......

    If my child gets caught on the street with a steak knife from my cutlery drawer does the whole family get told they are no longer allowed to use any kind of food eating utensil? (though in this case my child will be in a lot more trouble with me than worrying about using his fingers to eat!)

    Also, did mandy not sit down and just for a moment think about how the public would react to a guilty until proven innocent style of these rules. And did he not think, just for a moment that there is a general election in the next 6 months. Sorry, what am I saying, clearly he didn't think.

    What I do love about this idea is the fact that one of our elected overlords will get caught out by this very rule, by one of their inbread children. Hopefully on an fully expensed ADSL line and get cut off. Much mirth will be had by the papers. (And hopefully it will be mandy).

    Oh and @Steve Davies 3 - you may want to read this on mac address spoofing....

    And if I can turn that up on my first google search I'm sure your hacking neighbors can.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Steve Davies 3

    MAC filtering offers little protection once as MAC address are easily sniffed and spoofed.

  12. Anonymous3
    Thumb Down

    'I'm alright' security thinko

    @Steve Davies 3 said:

    "my router is setup to ONLY allow know MAC addresses to actually connect."

    As the attacker can control EVERY BIT in the wireless packets he emits, he can sniff your MAC address from the air and use it in his carefully crafted packets.

    Thus MAC address restriction does not guarantee that access is restricted to your computer - only that access is restricted to a computer using your publicly available MAC address.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Steve Davies 3

    Basically security through obscurity. Such steps would block some people, especially if there are easier targets for them.

    However, anybody who's capable of finding and following WEP hacking instructions is just as capable of finding and following MAC spoofing instructions.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. BitterBunny

    An ethical ISP, shock horror.

    Good on TalkTalk. This government is just determined to run roughshod over every civil liberty it can think of - it's utterly repulsive.

    As for the unencrypted wireless issue, there are 6 within close proximity to me, all called Netgear or DLink, because the vast majority of people are clueless. I'm in Scotland, and the big child porn case that concluded last week involved a child abuser using his neighbours unencrypted wireless to download child porn in the hopes it would disguise his identity, and it did until the police investigated further. Somehow I doubt the government are going to provide extra resources to police to track down filesharers.

  16. Andy Barker

    @Steve Davies

    MAC filtering isn't a very effective security measure. They can easily be spoofed by anyone that wants to put a little effort in. Google "MAC Sppofing"

  17. Anonymous Coward


    If everyone is guilty until proven innocent, if you take it to the limit, everyone will be disconnected and all ISPs will fail.

    So I reckon no ISP will disconnect anyone.

  18. dave 46

    re: Steve Davies

    "simple Really"

    You are if you think mac address filtering is going to do anything for you, now stop posturing and go secure your wifi properly.

  19. Alex 0.1

    Not a problem

    In realistic terms, even if TalkTalk don't get this idea quashed before it gets started, it'll die a horrible and embarrasing death not long afterwards.

    Being as WEP *is* so insecure and being as people like Mr Steve Davies 3 above think theyre secure when theyre really really not, if this disconnection policy does go through it'll take no time atall for someone of less-than-ethical character to hitch a ride on someone else's net connection. As with other people finding insecurities, I have 6 Wi-Fi connections in range of me not including my own, 1 open (a BT FON hotspot) 4 using WEP and 1 using WPA, with my own connection being the only WPA2.

    Busting into any of the WEP secured connections is trivial, and the very first time the connection of a user of a major ISP gets used to download copywrite content, the ISP disconnects the user and the user complains, it's a near certainty that ISP will simply turn round and sue the government, and rightly so.

    The end result will be a law which is very quickly discarded, all at significant cost to both the ISP's having to implement the technical measures briefly then bin them all again (passed on to the consumer) and to the government having to draft these proposals in the first place, implement them, fight the first wrongful disconnection in court, lose, and scrap the measures again (also passed on to us, the consumer).

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE:I'm with Talk-Talk on this

    If your unsecured wireless using neighbours can't be bothered to change stuff from the defaults then I suspect the passwords are all default as well. And I can't see someone not being arsed to change a simple key but then implement MAC address filtering.

    More importantly, if I was illegally downloading stuff and got a warning, I would immediately set my wireless security to as weak as possible (ideally after researching tried and tested settings that get you off) and then claim it wasn't me.

    What is needed is legislation to force wireless kit providers to make them as secure as reasonable by default.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    @Andy Barker

    "Did you mean: MAC Spoofing"

  22. Jacqui

    fake traffic

    A major part of P2P traffic shown is actually faked using semi-random IP's. This is planned and intentional.

    If this law is adopted a lot of innocent people will be found guilty. ANd the record companies know this. I know if any of the music corps managed to get me disconnected for no good reason - The only use I have for P2P is linux iso's - then I would ensure I would never ever buy anything from them.

    Don't they realise when you hurt someone, they will kick back with whatever they have.

    Having come under the BBC TVL harrasment campaign (for not actually having a TV!), we have vowed to never *ever* get or watch TV again - when our original plan was to skip havng a TV for a year and see how much more we could get done. Getting rid of the TV was the best thing we ever did.

    I get the feeling that given the insanity we have to go through to get DVD's to play on our computers, MPAA and RIAA members are already shooting themselves in the foot.

  23. Rob Crawford

    Im still wondering

    What will constitute evidence of file sharing, and who will collect this evidence.

    Will it be people paid by the record/film industry as I certainly wouldn't trust them as they have to find infringements to justify being paid.

    Will they be paid a commission on every person they 'discover'?

    Will a government quango be setup to do all this checking?

    What constitutes file sharing, just because a file is named say "Seven_Nation_Army-White_Stripes.MP3" is that what the file actually is (will they download and confirm each and every file)

    Yet again I am wrong in believing that accusation is not the same as proof

  24. Inachu


    "Ignoring P2Pers costs music biz dear - survey"

    Wanted to comment on that story but no comment button!

    Stop messing with us readers! Let us choose what we want to comment on!

  25. pitagora

    wrong steve

    @ Steve Davies:

    allowing only one MAC to connect will not protect you. Once they know you WEP key they will also know your MAC. It's a simple matter of changing the MAC. Even worse, when you'll get a MAC conflict you'll want to login on your router and see what's up and they'll sniff your password too.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    I didn't know

    it was possible to fake the MAC as well, seems online security is only to keep honest people honest. But if all this info is in the public domain, why are the copyright mafia persisting in this path?

    So we’ve gone from having a private company with a vested interest in protecting its monopoly acting as judge, jury and executioner, the only evidence they can produce is *TOTALLY* flawed. If somebody whose connection is hacked and the MAFIAA get the ISP to cut his/her connection, who’s going to be dragged into court?

    I don’t approve of downloading, it is breach of copyright, I don’t believe it deprives artist of that much money due to the way their record deals are structured (ref: Morrisy’s recent comments about not getting royalties from the recent releases) but how do you prove you didn’t do something? You can’t prove a negative, Is the defence going to be to have a second computer and present this as evidence, at which point you would be asked do have another, it is my understanding that it is a breech of human rights to have to incriminate yourself in any way.

    Are the MAFIAA such half-wits that they cannot see this?

    When I go home tonight, I’m going to try and hack my neighbours wireless, not that I need to as when they first got it was totally open, even down to having the WEP in the clear, looks like it was a total waste of time trying to secure their wireless connection.

  27. Puck

    re: An ethical ISP, shock horror

    An unethical freetard, what a find.

  28. Tony Paulazzo

    Title 836439

    Well I was going to say (after reading the comments above), thank heavens the governments independant advisory council will inform them of all these facts and dissuade them from implementing an impractical policy...

    Oh wait...

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