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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'

Google has used economic pressure to get a review of UK copyright law. This unexpected  deal was  announced by the Prime Minister, David Cameron,  last week.

 

In an announcement on Thursday, where he outlined  government support for a  new centre of high technology and innovation in East London, the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, slipped in a surprise for copyright and intellectual property.  He gave a pledge that the UK government ‘will change laws where necessary so we break down the barriers to innovation.'  Specifically, he said that the UK government will review IP laws to make

Read more: Google pressures UK into copyright review

Rights-holder tactics bending the legal position have been exposed following a major data breach involving thousands of emails on the website of UK law firm ACS law. The large ISPs in the UK are withdrawing "co-operation" following the breach, which has revealed false allegations and a pure profit motive for 'scaring' alleged infringing file-sharers.

It is reported that the ACS Law website was the subject of a denial of service attack last weekend, and as a result of this attack, when the website went back online, an error in the technical set up caused thousands of emails to be made visible online. According to a news agency report from AFP, the breach is understood to include a database of more than 5000 users of Sky's broadband services who were alleged to have downloaded pornographic material, as well as a further 8000 Sky users and 400 PlusNet users alleged to have downloaded music or film.

What is interessting is to see how the rights-holders tactics have


Read more: Rights-holder tactics exposed in ACS Law leak

Strained, inconsistent, unjustified and full of misconceptions - proposals by UK telecoms regulator Ofcom for implementation of the 3-strikes copyright enforcement regime under the DE Act, come in for  a litany of criticism by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

 It's rumoured the the UK Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, voted for the Digital Economy Act so that he would not have to hear of it again. If that is true, he could not have misjudged it more.  

The  ISPs are finally fighting back, and  have vented their anger in a barrage of criticism directed at the telecoms regulator, Ofcom.  They accuse Ofcom of pushing forward the ill-thought-through plans of the previous Labour government, without consideration of the implications for their business or for citizens. They allege that Ofcom is  failing UK citizens, distorting the market, and takes a

Read more: DE Act unjustified - Internet industry hits out at Ofcom

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor, with expertise in online safety, technology and human rights. 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