The US is playing world police again and leaning on Switzerland this time to crack down on its high levels of piracy. However, not everyone is cool with that this time around, as local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been standing up and protesting the proposed site blocks.
“The United States strongly encourages Switzerland to demonstrate its commitment to copyright protection and to combating online piracy vigorously, including by taking steps to ensure that rights holders can protect their rights,” quotes TorrentFreak from a secretive US report. It goes on to suggest that sites be blocked and that those found to be illegally sharing copyright protected material, should be sent warnings. More than that though, there's also been discussion on ISPs being forced to delete content from Swiss websites if it's found to be illegal.
Of course no ISP has been invited to these secretive US/Swiss meetings, but they're aware of the goings on and have begun to comment.
“The Justice Department [will take measures] that affect the Internet and hosting providers but have not invited them to the working group. Accordingly, useless ideas have now emerged,” says Franz Grüter, managing director of ISP Green.ch.
He also went on to criticise the entire idea of tracking what a user looks at online – something that has become common place in the UK – suggesting that that led down a road of totalitarianism.
Backing up these claims was the president of industry association Simsa, Andrej Vcjkovski, who said: “We reject the monitoring of Internet traffic on principle, because to have exceptions opens a dangerous door. Suddenly, it would be conceivable, for example, to filter political content.”
If policies like this actually become implemented, it seems likely that there will be real teething issues. If the problems with DMCA take-downs are anything to go by, we'll have ISPs banning their own websites and files being deleted that don't even belong to the company issuing the deletion order.
KitGuru Says: While it's great to see the Swiss ISPs standing up to the law makers, unlike here where they seem to just roll over, the changes being proposed are far harsher than a simple site block. File deletion orders could get so, so messy.