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Anti-Piracy Plan Threatens Free Speech

Proposed legislation in Britain aimed at curtailing illegal Web downloads would turn ISPs into "Internet Service Policemen"

Big Brother is watching you. That's the future British Internet users could face if a proposal to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to monitor consumer downloading gets the go-ahead.

In a policy document unveiled on Feb. 22, the British government says it may consider holding ISPs responsible for the behavior of their customers as one way to clamp down on digital piracy. Potential new rules could slap sanctions on ISPs that fail to stop illegal downloads and compel them to turn over details of customers who infringe intellectual property rights.