Big tech accountability? Read how we got here in  The Closing of the Net 

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’

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

AT&T, which lobbied so hard in Brussels to get ‘restrictions' into the Telecoms Package, is now lobbying to keep itself out of the UK's 3-strikes regime. Has AT&T had a change of heart? No.

Such a proposition could give AT& T and Verizon a significant market advantage over   competitors. At the same time, it would put small businesses of all kinds at a serious disadvantage.  The real question is just how much market distortion would it create?

 The American telecoms provider AT&T, and its lobbying partner Verizon, are asking the UK regulator for exclusion from the UK's 3-strikes copyright enforcement regime, which will be implemented under the Digital Economy Act.  In particular, they want an exclusion for "business

Read more: DE Act: AT&T wants to wriggle out of copyright liability

Legal uncertainty for citizens and ISPs can be expected from the Ofcom's Code to implement the Digital Economy Act, which will bring in 3-strikes (now confirmed as 3)  measures to the UK.


The Ofcom Consultation on the Initial Obligations Code, which implements the Digital Economy Act, ended yesterday. According to sources in consumer groups, citizens organisations  and ISPs, the code  fails to support either users or ISPs, even under the weak provisions which are in the Act. In many instances, the UK regulator is accused of putting users and businesses in a legally uncertain position.


The Ofcom Initial Obligations Code, as it is called, is criticised because it:

Read more: DE Act: users and ISPs hit by Ofcom Code


Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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States v the 'Net? 

Read The Closing of the Net, by me, Monica Horten.

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" essential read for anyone interested in understanding the forces at play behind the web."

Find out more about the book here  The Closing of the Net


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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review


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