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Under a plan put to the government recently by the Respect for Film campaign group, persistent illegal downloaders would be hit with restricted service speeds. This, their argument runs, would reduce pirates’ ability to get hold of substantial files, such as full-length movies, in a trice.

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It’s a creditable suggestion, that’s for sure. But if it is to be followed by UK broadband providers it would need to be accompanied by a reliable means of identifying the wrongdoer. Especially when you consider that in the past the use of IP addresses for this purpose has been widely discredited.

Then, and only then, could it be ensured that internet speed bumps are any less reviled that the car underside-destroying local council schemes that blight our lives on UK roads.

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