Super-fast broadband could encourage piracy

18% of Brits have admitted to illegal downloading

More than a third of Brits (35 percent) think super-fast broadband services will encourage illegal downloading, says Moneysupermarket.

Research by the comparison website revealed that 18 percent of UK web users have admitted to illegally downloading content on the web.

Of those, 74 percent said they obtained copyrighted music from the web, while 41 percent had downloaded films illegally and a quarter had used the web to source pirated software.

Moneysupermarket.com revealed that almost a third (32 percent) of illegal file-sharers were aged 18 to 34 and more men than women downloaded pirated content from the web.

Mike Wilson, manager of broadband at moneysupermarket.com, said: "Illegal downloading is already a big problem for the likes of the music and film industries and with superfast broadband packages set to become commonplace, the problem seems likely to get worse.

"For many people, broadband is as essential a service as electricity and gas, and those who suffer Wi-Fi hijacking or share a connection with multiple users should not be penalised for the actions of others," Wilson said in regards to the Digital Economy Act that was made law by the government last week.

The Act features a three-strikes rule designed to tackle internet piracy. Account holders whose IP addresses have been used in illegal downloading will be issued with warning letters and emails, even if a cybercriminal hijacked their Wi-Fi connection to illegally share files.

Furthermore, repeat offenders will face legal action and 'technical measures' such as speed restrictions or even a possible temporary ban from the web.

According to the comparison site, nearly one in five (19 percent) web users don't have password protected internet access, which leaves them wide open to becoming the victim of Wi-Fi hacking.

"A significant amount of people admit to Wi-Fi hijacking and with the potential to suffer recourse from your ISP for illegal downloading, it is imperative that people take appropriate measures to protect their wireless connections," added Wilson

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