It’s going to be a while before UK ISPs are forced to take “technical measures” against persistent file-sharers, but one ISP has gone full steam ahead with a graduated response policy that goes beyond even what the most bullish music biz executives have suggested.Hull-based ISP Karoo – the brand name of Kingston Communications – is the ISP responsible, and according to a report on BBC News, it’s eschewing the idea of three strikes in favour of suspending users’ broadband after a single notification from a copyright owner that someone is illegally sharing their content.The report claims that if the customer signs a waiver promising not to do it again, they can get their internet access back, but suggests that some have had their accounts suspended for up to two years.”I think it’s the responsible approach, because we are protecting people from illegal activity,” the company’s Nick Thompson tells the Beeb. “There are no benefits for us. In fact, when we cut off customers we’re actually reacting against our own interests because we don’t charge customers for that period when the service is suspended.”However, the news has already led to criticism from consumer rights groups. “Rights holders and internet service providers cannot be prosecutor, judge and jury,” says Jill Johnstone, director at Consumer Focus. “To cut people off the internet for allegedly infringing copyright is disproportionate. And to do so without giving consumers the right to challenge the evidence against them is unacceptable.”Meanwhile, Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, agrees: “A monopoly like Karoo cannot be allowed to arbitrarily decide when to limit our fundamental human rights. Only courts can do that.”That ‘m’ word is the key to understanding why a relatively small local ISP is causing such a furore. For many people in Hull, Karoo is the only broadband ISP available – meaning they can’t simply switch to a rival.

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