The government's plans to cut-off persistent filesharers under Lord Mandelson's proposed 'three strikes' rule has been strongly criticised in the House of Lords for its failure to offer "due judicial process" to those accused.

The proposed 'three strikes' rule – part of the government's wide-ranging Digital Economy Bill – will also have the unintended negative effect of cutting off public Wi-Fi providers such as libraries, hotels and cafes, who could be found liable for any users sharing files illegally over a public connection.

University and Library opposition

In a recent open letter to Lord Puttnam, representatives from the University of London, British Library, the Imperial War Museum and others said:

"Because public institutions often provide internet access to hundreds or thousands of individual users, the complexity of our position in relation to copyright infringements must be taken into consideration.

"If this is not done, a public institution such as a library, school or university's internet connection as a whole could be jeopardised, resulting in loss of internet access to large sections of the public, particularly the 15 million citizens without an internet connection at home."

Hotels and cafes opposition

British Hospitality Association (BHA) is likewise concerned that the rule could well negatively impact on a hotel's business and would be a "grossly unfair consequence" of a should the hotel be punished for its guest's actions,

"The difficulties of applying this bill to the hospitality industry, with its transient profile, appear not to have been considered," said Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the BHA.

More importantly, the Lords' Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) issued a report this week which states: "at the moment the Bill defines a process of appeals with no presumption of innocence," adding that, "[this] process will be applied irrespective of the sanction or evidence."

Or, to put it bluntly, whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Via The Guardian