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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'

Should the Secretary of State  have the power to determine whether websites and Internet services can be blocked?  Behind closed doors,  proposals are being floated which would  enable Industry and Culture Ministers  to give the go-ahead for ‘technical measures' against file-sharers, without any referral to Ofcom or due process  for the user.

 

The music and entertainment industries in the UK are putting pressure on the government to bring in ‘technical measures'  - that is, the use of deep packet inspection and other network-based techniques for  Internet

Read more: Copyright industries pressure UK to filter the Net

A small UK ISP thinks that 3-strikes is an  ‘industry standard' approach. Since when?  Given that the French Constitutional Court has declared it to be a breach of fundamental rights for private companies  to cut people off the Internet, we seem to be getting a raw deal here in the UK.

 

The UK Internet Service Provider Karoo  is under the mistaken impression that 3-strikes is an industry standard' approach. It has recently been revealed that this small ISP serving the city of Hull has been terminating the Internet access of its customers on the orders of the copyright industries.

 In the first reports,  Karoo  was taking this action without warning customers first.  Following the bad publicity, it  has changed its policy to sending warnings, followed by suspension. A statement on its website now says that this is ‘more in line with the industry standard approach'.

 This statement gives cause for concern.  3-strikes  is NOT  an industry standard. Nor is it the law in the UK. Under current UK

Read more: Karoo - since when is 3-strikes an 'industry standard' ?

UK government plans to restrict the Internet have become clear. And how it is using the Telecoms Package to launder policy through Brussels. Without Amendment 138, the Telecoms Package would offer no obstacle to Internet  filtering, blocking peer-to-peer file-sharing, or restrictions on any other web-based service or application.

 

The UK government's peer-to-peer consultation  has slipped on a virtual banana skin and in the process let its Internet restrictions plans jump right out of the bag.

 

The consultation has printed a version of Amendment 138 in the EU Telecoms Package using a wording hitherto unknown:  it includes the words ‘or for other legitimate reasons' which would give governments the get-out clause they need to apply 3-strikes and

Read more: What are 'legitimate reasons' for the UK to block the Net?

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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