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The Australian government has consulted with BBC on controlling copyright infringement. The commercial division of the corporation responded, saying that VPN users are probably illegally downloading content. This is an unfair assumption especially in today’s privacy-conscious world.
Australia’s Content Piracy Woes
The Australian government has been trying to find ways to deal with content piracy. They have reached out to the BBC to help them deal with online copyright violations. BBC Worldwide successfully markets products on a global scale, and so is a likely entity to approach regarding these concerns. BBC Worldwide reported that when Internet users want to hide their IP addresses, something is off. They mean that avid VPN users are probably content pirates.
Australia has had a problem with content piracy over the years. This is mainly due to poor availability of fresh content. Australian residents have clamored for faster content delivery to no end. This lack of response to consumer demand has pushed some to become VPN users. Most of these VPN users want to access online services to catch new entertainment content coming out. Many of them don’t want to download illegal copies of the content. They simply want to gain access to services that can deliver content faster. They pay for their Internet and they will pay for these services.
New Zealanders face the same problem. They have poor access to fresh content and their government is not helping. Recently one ISP there, Slingshot, made an IP hiding service available to subscribers. Called Global Mode, it gave subscribers the freedom that VPN users have to access blocked content. Big broadcaster Sky TV refused to run the ISP’s ads but is not working on providing better content access either. Companies are afraid of the competition, and governments don’t want to get in the middle of a tussle.
VPN Users Just Want Privacy and Maybe Better Access
We all know that some VPN users do hide behind these tools so they can download illegal copies of music, movies, and more. But many more have and are using VPNs to protect themselves from unlawful monitoring. BBC Worldwide encourages the Australian government in the report to have their Internet service providers watch over VPN users. But this is an undue invasion of privacy for not good reason. There is no just cause to conduct widespread surveillance on people just to catch the few who might be misbehaving.
VPN users know that these tools have the power to open access to blocked content. The tools primarily give VPN users online security by hiding their IP addresses. But this process has the side effect of thwarting the blocks set up by companies to control their markets. VPN users who can access sites that companies or governments don’t want them to open are not content pirates. They are simply using available technology to free their Internet from corporate and government control. Calling VPN users content pirates sounds like a bunch of propaganda to protect the interests of a few.
The BBC suggested to the Australian government that ISPs need to take a lead role in identifying pirates and getting illegally obtained content off the Web. This would mean monitoring subscribers and policing websites at the bidding of copyright holders. BBC Worldwide’s report also suggested giving ISPs permission to slow down the speeds of subscribers who are caught repeatedly downloading pirated content. If this does not already cross the line, BBC said that ISPs should be obligated to report suspicious user behavior without defining what constitutes this suspicious behavior. If they feel that VPN users indicate content piracy, this means big trouble. One example given is if VPN users download a lot. This clearly does not point to content piracy, and VPN users should not have to prove what they are doing on the Internet. Most ISPs do not agree with the BBC’s suggestions. We have yet to hear what the government has to say.