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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'

The UK government has put an anti-filesharing law on its legislative programme commencing this autumn. The law is based on the Digital Britain report, which includes proposals to make the regulator, Ofcom, oversee protocol and website blocking. Will it contravene the Telecoms Package and how should it be seen in light of the French Conseil Constitutionel decision?

 

The  proposed law  will be called the Digital Economy bill. It will create changes in the regulatory framework for network providers, and Internet Service Providers. Of particular significance is the proposed change to Ofcom's mandate. Where Ofcom currently has a duty to protect citizens, based

Read more: UK anti-filesharing law proposed for 2009/2010

The British regulator, Ofcom, could be asked to order broadband providers to block websites, protocols and ports,  as well as throttle users. It is  part of a plan to make Ofcom oversee anti-filesharing measures, under the Brown government's Digital Britain proposals, released today. But will they go against EU law? 

The British government's Digital Britain proposals released this afternoon, set out a plan for broadband providers to be asked to block Internet users using 'technical measures, if anti-filesharing warnings do not prove effective. The regulator, Ofcom, is to be given a "duty' to take steps aimed at reducing copyright infringement." The first steps will be make broadband providers

Read more: Ofcom to mandate Internet blocking

The UK will today announce a plan for force ISPs to police copyrighted content using a technical 3-strikes approach - people who download wil find their connection speed slowed down -  throttled - prompted by an automated system. The plans  will be unveiled by the unaccountable Minister Lord Carter, who has resigned and is expected to take up a job with a television company that will arguably benefit from the proposals. 

 

The report is expected to contain  a three-pronged set of  proposals to deal with broadband infrastructure, peer-to-peer downloading, and broadcast television.  It is understood that the report recommends 'technical measures' against peer-to-peer, a public  body (not a tribunal)  to oversee these measures, a plan to drive up the

Read more: 3-strikes for Digital Britain

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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