Consumer champion responds to UK three strikes plan

Innocent people are receiving 'pay-up' demands, says UK group Which?

UK consumer champion Which? has responded to Lord Mandelson's threats to cut persistent file-sharers internet connections off as early as summer 2011 under new 'three strikes' rules.

Mandelson told the government's Digital Creative Industries Conference that a "legislate and enforce" strategy was the best way forward to tackle the problem, adding: "Three strikes is a reasonable way of describing our approach."

Which? warned that under the government's new 'Digital Britain' proposals for dealing with illegal filesharers, consumers will have to pay for a new system that will be neither fair nor effective.

"Introducing a tiered response to illegal filesharing is a good idea in theory, but only if the right people are targeted," Which? campaigner, Clare Corbett said.

"While Which? does not condone illegal filesharing, innocent people are receiving what they feel are threatening letters demanding immediate payment for supposed illegal downloading. For many people, fighting an accusation is far too costly and stressful, leaving them no option but to pay up."

"The government must ensure that people who have been wrongly accused of illegal filesharing have access to a fair, free and quick independent adjudication system and that any penalties are proportionate."

Which? campaigns to get a fairer deal for all consumers and promises to publish expert, unbiased information to help consumers make the right choices on wide range of goods and services.

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