Is Britain Readying a Supremely Armed Pirate Hunter?

An story on BoingBoing cites a British Labour Government source that such a move may be underway.

The article, noticed by GPer DarkSaber, reports that changes could be introduced to the Digital Economy Bill, which would enable the Secretary of State to introduce legislation without debate in order to amend the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act and to introduce a Pirate-Finder General.

Current Secretary of State Peter Mandelson’s is behind the proposal, which would feature the following measures:

1. The Secretary of State would get the power to create new remedies for online infringements.

2. The Secretary of State would get the power to create procedures to "confer rights" for the purposes of protecting rightsholders from online infringement.

3. The Secretary of State would get the power to "impose such duties, powers or functions on any person as may be specified in connection with facilitating online infringement."

The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) was equally alarmed at the news and has introduced a form of action that urges UK citizens to call their MP.

The EFF labels the ability to to introduce legislation without debate “dangerous,” adding “This bill would grant the Secretary of State sweeping powers to mess with the very fundamentals of the UK copyright system law, ignoring the voices of UK citizens to meet the needs of one set of interest holders.”

The EFF further notes that Mandelson may also target “Cyberlocker” services like Amazon’s S3, Dropbox and YouSendIt, which allow users to swap and share large files.

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