BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the UK public broadcaster, has told an Australian government proceeding that people who use VPNs a lot should be assumed to be engaged in piracy, that ISPs should surveil their users, that websites should be censored by Chinese-style national firewalls, and that the families of people accused of watching TV the wrong way should be disconnected from the Internet.
The BBC's submission focuses on the challenges of keeping Australians from watching Doctor Who ahead of the local broadcast date — a problem that could be much more simply alleviated just by synching up the broadcast schedule with the UK date. They want ISPs to share the bill for these profit-maximization schemes, too.
"Since the evolution of peer-to-peer software protocols to incorporate decentralized architectures, which has allowed users to download content from numerous host computers, the detection and prosecution of copyright violations has become a complex task. This situation is further amplified by the adoption of virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy servers by some users, allowing them to circumvent geo-blocking technologies and further evade detection," the BBC explain.
"It is reasonable for ISPs to be placed under an obligation to identify user behavior that is 'suspicious' and indicative of a user engaging in conduct that infringes copyright. Such behavior may include the illegitimate use by Internet users of IP obfuscation tools in combination with high download volumes."
While the BBC goes on to state that "false positives" would need to be avoided in order to "safeguard the fundamental rights of consumers", none of this will sit well with Internet service providers or the public. Throwing around accusations of illegal activity based on the existence of an encrypted tunnel and high bandwidth consumption is several steps beyond anything suggested before.