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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 Digital Economy Bill passed by the House of Lords yesterday.  Labour says it will bring in a clause on website blocking when the Bill goes to the House of Commons.

This is in addition to 3-strikes and automated blocking or slowing of users connections..and the government giving itself the power to take over the Internet domain registries.

 

It could soon be  law in the UK that  websites can  be blocked to support copyright enforcement, if the Digital Economy Bill is passed in the House of Commons. Such a provision is on the cards following the House of Lords debate on the Digital Economy Bill last night.

 

The Lords discussed website blocking in light of

Read more: UK government to draft website blocking amendment to Digital Economy Bill

A leaked memo from the British Phonographic Industries (BPI - or British IFPI) reveals a quite astonishing action-plan to drive a virtual tank over the UK Internet.

 

Blocking websites  ok if it meets MI5's  concerns

The Henry VIII clause (Was clause 17, now clause 18)  was delilberatly intended  to bring in extra  sanctions on Internet users who use applications other than P2P, contrary to the government's positioning of it.

ISPs will just roll over quietly on 3-strikes,  as will Parliament 

  

The BPI has already got a date in the diary to

Read more: Scandal of new music industry leaked memo - Parliament will roll over on 3-strikes

Even if you are not in the UK, the UK LibDems fight to Save the Net matters. A LibDem emergency motion opposing copyright measures to block the Internet which are currently going through the UK Parliament is to be debated at their conference tomorrow.  

 

***Update: Sunday 14 March. The motion was carried. The question now is where do the LibDems go from here?***

 

UK Liberal Democrats are fighting to save the Internet against an attack from one of their own. Why is this important even if you are not in the UK? Because what the UK does, will be followed by others. This  is a fight for the life of the open Internet.

It has arisen because of the Digital Economy Bill, currently being driven through the UK Parliament  and which will introduce 3-strikes and other technical measures  to support copyright. Until now, it has been proceeding  largely under the radar. 

  Now the LibDems have succeeded in getting an  emergency motion debated at their Spring conference tomorrow. The motion opposes in particular, a measure - Amendment 120A  -  which would permit UK courts to order the blocking of websites. It also opposes  3-strikes and other measures to monitor or  block the Internet in the name of copyright, and it  condemns the Digital Economy Bill, which

Read more: Fight to Save the Net by UK Liberal Democrats

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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