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Carphone Warehouse threatens legal action over file-sharing plans

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By Stuart Turton

Posted on 30 Sep 2009 at 16:21

Carphone Warehouse chief executive Charles Dunstone has threatened to take the Government to court if his company is forced to disconnect file-sharers.

Carphone Warehouse owns TalkTalk, the UK's biggest broadband provider with 4.25 million customers, and Dunstone said the company would "continue to resist any attempts to make it impose technical measures on its customers (unless directed to do so by a court or recognised tribunal).

"The approach proposed by Lord Mandelson is based on the principle of guilty until proven innocent and substitutes proper judicial process for a kangaroo court," he said.

The UK government's stance seems to have shifted significantly from persuasion to coercion in relation to consumer behaviour

"In the event that we are instructed to impose extra judicial technical measures we will refuse to do so and challenge the instruction in the courts," Dunstone argued at a Government forum dedicated to tackling illegal filesharing.

Indeed, Dunstone claimed the Government's proposal could escalate incidents of Wi-Fi hijacking. "What is being proposed is wrong in principle and it won’t work in practice. The unintended consequence of Mandelson’s plan will be to encourage more Wi-Fi and PC hijacking and expose more innocent people to being penalised wrongfully."

It was sentiment echoed by BT, which claimed the measures could force it to add £2 per month to customer's broadband bills.

"The UK government's stance seems to have shifted significantly from persuasion to coercion in relation to consumer behaviour," BT said.

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