ISP TalkTalk has performed a Wi-Fi hacking stunt in a street in Middlesex to prove how innocent people could lose their web access under proposals set out by Lord Mandelson and supported by the major record labels.

One of TalkTalk's security experts set up a laptop with software freely available online which identified 23 different wireless connections on a single street that were unsecured or running easily-hackable WEP networks. The TalkTalk staffer then downloaded Barry Manilow songs, and a movie soundtrack.

The residents in question had given their permission to be "hacked", and the content downloaded was legal, but the idea was to prove how easily illegal files could have been obtained in the same way. Several cases have occurred where innocent people, including an elderly couple, have been fingered for downloading video games and other content.

The British Phonographic Industry maintains that its evidence-gathering system wouldn't allow innocent people to be caught in this manner. The three-strikes process will apparently include recommendations on how to secure your connection. How easy that would be for elderly people who aren't too tech-savvy remains to be seen.

TalkTalk told the BBC: "The Mandelson scheme is every bit as wrong-headed as it is naive. The lack of presumption of innocence and the absence of judicial process combined with the prevalence of wi-fi hacking will result in innocent people being disconnected".

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