Looking for help with the Online Safety Act - Ofcom consultations? Please get in touch. 

Digital Britain

Britain was traditionally influential in European policy for telecoms policy. It was a British Commissioner, Lord Cockfield, who established the Single European Market. Britain led the way in the establishment of a competitive European telecoms market. However, in leaving the EU, Britain has lost the ability to influence European policy in the future, and in 2022, Britain sadly finds itself no longer a major power, but instead has become an embarrassment for British representatives in international fora. The government is sunk deep in corruption, it blatantly lies, its law-breaking has led to mistrust among former allies. There are multiple posts, articles, and tweets to support this claim.

It's in this context that the British government is preparing a law to address regulation of the Internet. It's a law that will have far-reaching implications for the way the Internet will function in Britain, and will impact on web platforms overseas. I am referring of course, to the Online Safety Bill. As I write this, at the beginning of 2022, the Bill is only in draft form. How will it end up? Interestingly, in going through my old posts, I note that wrote in 2015 about a similarly -named Bill. It was the predecessor to this one. It never became law, but many of the provisions in it appear to have been taken forward into the 2022 version.

A number of the articles in this section discuss a previous policy, called the Digital Economy Act 2010. This was a law that mandated broadband providers to work with the music and film industries, in order to enforce copyright on the Internet. It was forced through in the dying hours of the Parliament before the General Election of May 2010. The measures involved the use of network technology to sanction users, with implications for the neutrality of the network, and the 'mere conduit' status of the network provider. The law was deemed unworkable and never implemented. That is a lesson that needs to be taken on board by all policy-makers in this field.

If you like the articles in this section, you may like my book The Closing of the Net.

If you are interested in the Digital Economy Act and copyright enforcement policy, you may like my previous books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the 'Telecoms Package'

5th post in a series on the government's response to Hargreaves

Did the DE Act intend private companies running (Indian?) call centres to be the Appeals Body?

Under proposals published in August, Ofcom plans to privatise the Appeals process for the Digital Economy Act copyright enforcement measures. Ofcom plans to run a commercial tender for a private company to run the new Appeals body, which will sit in judgement on allegations of downloading copyrighted material and ultimately on whether people are cut off. Effectively, the Appeals Body, which will perform a quasi-judicial function, will be outsourced,

Read more: Ofcom invites private bids to run Appeals Process

British Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt, having been wined and dined by the copyright industries, has said tonight that he wants to bring in a regime of blocking for websites, search engines, ISPs and hosts. The primary reason is to protect the interests of the copyright industries. However, he includes a proposal which is tantamount to censorship for 'protecting children'. His proposals suggest blocking on a scale that has not yet been introduced anywhere except China.

Read more: Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt's Chinese-style web blocking plans

4th post in a series on the government's response to Hargreaves

This article was written before the leaks of Jeremy Hunt's speech tonight at the Royal Television Society convention. If those leaks are correct, then understanding Ofcom's proposals becomes all the more pertinent.

Having advised that Section 17 and 18 of the Digital Economy Act are not appropriate, Ofcom is now working on how fast it can put web blocks in place. But its its proposals are unlikely to be consistent with EU law and are almost certainly not consistent with a country which prides itself on a free media. Ofcom says the process in the DE Act

Read more: Madame La Guillotine 2.0 - designed by Ofcom

group.kiev.nov2015.s.jpg

Iptegrity moves on!

May 2024: Iptegrity is being re-developed to upgrade the Joomla software.

Please bear with us until the new site is ready.

Find me on LinkedIn

About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor: online safety, technology and human rights. In April 2024, I was appointed as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on online safety and empowerment of content creators and users. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.  

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review