Ofcom has outlined proposals to restrict the fingers of those who illegally download films and music on the Internet through the use of tiny yellow finger clamps. ‘Some people will feel that this response is too extreme,’ said Ofcom chairman Chester Allen, ‘but we have stopped short of actually cutting off their fingers, which would have been our preferred option.’
Persistent offenders will be visited by Copyright Enforcement Officers who will place their fingers into DDRDs, or Digital Digit Restriction Devices, which will limit their ability to type or operate a computer mouse. It is believed that the thumb will be given limited movement in order for them to use rudimentary items like cutlery or toilet flushes.
‘We weighed up a lot of options,’ explained Helen Sturgeon of the Federation Against Copyright Theft, ‘but compared to limiting Internet access or sending warning letters we felt that some form of medieval-style torture was the way to go.’
Technology blogger Adam Petrie believes the new clamping system is doomed to failure. He says: ‘Hardcore infringers will simply migrate computer activity from their hands to their feet. While the entertainment industry is saying ‘the gloves are now off,’ the pirates are responding with, ‘yes, and so are our socks’.’
Entertainment bosses are currently lobbying the government to go further. In the future, those downloading music or films illegally could face ear stapling or eyelash gluing, while those downloading pornography could end up being cut off altogether.