Open Thinkering


Why I’m using iPREDator now the Digital Economy Bill has been passed


We just love our unelected leaders in the UK. Not only did Gordon Brown get to become Prime Minister without being elected to the position, but Peter (now ‘Lord’) Mandelson has his fingers in more pies of government behind the scenes that I think most people realise. I always think of Gríma Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings when I see him.

And now, of course, Mandelson is ‘First Secretary of State’, an honorific title all but making him Deputy Prime Minister. Oh, and he’s also Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills as well as President of the Board of Trade. It’s a complete coincidence, of course, that his interest in the Digital Britain agenda (and ‘protecting’ intellectual property rights) was piqued after being wined and dined by David Geffen, co-founder of the Dreamworks studio with Steven Spielberg.

The Digital Economy Act

You would have thought that after all the scandal about MP’s expenses that Parliament would have cleaned itself up. Unfortunately the closest they get to this is a process called ‘wash-up’. Unfortunately, as Martin Bell writes in the Guardian:

This unfortunately has nothing to do with cleansing parliament from its many stains of corruption – more necessary now than ever. It is the term used to describe the negotiations between the parties to decide which bills will survive at the end of the parliamentary session and which will not. It is a secretive process, the modern equivalent of the smoke-filled room. Those taking part are the parties’ whips and business managers, plus officials from various government departments. Those excluded are the rank and file of MPs, together with independents and crossbenchers in the Lords. The wash-up is a stitch-up devised by and for the main political parties.

Whilst you can read the Digital Economy Bill (and subsequent Act) online, it’s best summarized in articles like this one. The bits that really irritate me?

  • Government powers to cut off internet connections of those suspected in illegal file-sharing activities.
  • More government control over who can register .uk domain names and for what purposes.

As many commentators have pointed out, once the heavy hand of the State is upon you, the burden of proof will rest with you to prove that you haven’t been engaging in illegal activities. Proving that you haven’t done something is obviously a lot harder than you have.


Fortunately, there’s others who think like me. Not least the people behind both The Pirate Bay and the Swedish Pirate Party who have come up with iPREDator (named, ironically, after the PRED legislation in Sweden). It gives users a way of staying anonymous online.

How does it work? Via VPN (Virtual Private Network). Basically, they provide a tunnel through the internet and a proxy server through which to access everything online. You route your internet traffic through this and they guarantee not to spill the beans.

Why do I feel the need to cover my tracks? I’m not a massive user of Bittorrent and I’m certainly not engaged in any terrorist activities. But I do object to the State spying on me and potentially accusing me of stuff to shut down my internet connection. So I’m protecting myself.

How about you?

3 thoughts on “Why I’m using iPREDator now the Digital Economy Bill has been passed

  1. iPredator looks good – but the lack of email support is a killer. From their FAQ:

    “Q: Do you have an SMTP-server that I can use since my own SMTP-server doesn’t work using Ipredator?
    A: No, at the moment we can’t offer any SMTP-server. This means that you’ll have to disconnect the VPN service in order to send e-mail from your e-mail program.”

  2. I wrote to Liz Blackman, my local MP (and got a fob off letter, but to be fair she was probably too busy filling in forms to claim her wonderful MP benefits now she is standing down) and I donated to the 38 degrees publicity fund. Despite thousands of people feeling strongly enough about this bill to write to their MP and even give up cash, the government decided to steamroller this through parliament.

    Hardly any MPs in the house for the debate, yet many more popped out from the bar when needed to vote. MPs throwing about terms in the house that they didn’t even understand. MPs blindly believing figures from the content industry who are desperate to prop up their outdated and failing business model.

    It seems that the will of the electorate doesn’t matter to the government. On this occasion a new law has been bought and paid for in shady back room deals and the government has the nerve to call it democracy (but then as you saw we have an unelected prime minister and ‘first secretary of state).

    What do we do about it? Vote in the upcoming general election and use your vote wisely! And use something like this to tell your local candidates how you feel about lobbying.

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