Virgin Media is to test new technology to assess the level of illegal file-sharing across its network.
The ISP is the first to use CView, an analytics tool by tech specialist Detica which monitors how much copyrighted material is unlawfully shared between web users.
The trial is believed to cover approximately 40% of Virgin Media’s network, with users of the ISP not informed if they are being tracked.
However, all details will be anonymised, with Virgin Media intending, at this stage, only to monitor illegal file-sharing rather than take action against perpetrators.
The news cames a week after the government outlined its plans in the Digital Economy Bill to oblige ISPs to contact persistent unlawful file-sharers and retain the amount of notifications made to help rights holders take civil action.
If ISPs’ actions are not deemed to be sufficient, the Government could intervene and enforce technical measures, including cutting off persistent file-sharers.
The Government’s plans have been criticised by ISPs, which have said they are too aggressive (nma 26 November 2009).
Jon James, Virgin Media executive director of broadband, said, “Understanding how consumer behaviour is changing will be an important requirement of Virgin Media’s upcoming music offering and, should they become law, the Government’s legislative proposals will also require measurement of the level of copyright infringement on ISPs’ networks.
“Detica’s CView technology potentially offers a non-intrusive solution which enhances our understanding of aggregate customer behaviour without identifying or storing individual customers’ data,” he added.