Following the dreadful example of France, the UK is now bowing to corporate lobbyists whispering disinformation in the ears of MPs – a new law proposed by Lord Mandelson would disconnect UK internet users after being accused of downloading copyrighted material.

Let’s forget that the whole ‘copyrighted material’ issue is a grey area to begin with, subjected to hopelessly antiquated laws designed for an era without instant digital reproduction. Instead let’s focus on what this would mean for the average citizen.

First, it’s ridiculously easy to download copyrighted material. It’s so easy in fact that you’re likely to do it several times in any given week’s regular internet activity, probably without realising it yourself.

Secondly, it’s nearly impossible to prove that a particular individual downloaded copyrighted material. An IP address can belong to an entire household or even a whole building, and can also be easily spoofed. Yet IP addresses are used exclusively as evidence of individual copyright offences.

Thirdly, cutting off internet access means you won’t be able to do a lot of things that are necessary in these modern times. You won’t be able to do your banking online any more. Can’t book any flights or tickets online. Unable to look up the latest screen times of that new movie you want to see. Won’t be able to download that discount voucher.

Cutting people off from internet access is a ridiculous penalty. It’s like prohibiting convicted drivers from using the road – not just from driving cars, but from using any means of road transport at all!

Unfortunately the pro-copyright corporate lobby is rich and powerful and is polluting our governments with disinformation. One government after the other is succumbing to their lies and manipulation. We must stand up to this to protect our digital rights.

So sign the petition and support organisations like the Open Rights Group. This is important, and it deserves our attention and our action.