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’

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

Members of the UK Liberal Democrat party are angry that one of their own put through an onerous web blocking amendment to the Digital Economy Bill. This dangerous  amendment provides for web blocking by  courts, in addition to  3-strikes provisions.  It could usher in  a bi-directional blocking of the UK Internet.

The amendment was tabled by a Lord who is a partner in a law firm with entertainment and pharmaceutical industry clients. And guess what? The amendment was written by the British music industry!


The UK Liberal Democrat party is in uproar over the Digital Economy Bill and specifically an amendment tabled and pushed through the house of Lords by the LibDem peers Lord Clement Jones, and Lord Razzall. The amendment - 120A -  will permit courts to order the blocking of websites by ISPs, following legal action by rights holders and could have a

Read more: UK Liberal Democrats rise against Net blocking

A Lib Dem amendment to UK copyright law, via the Digital Economy Bill, will mean that websites could be blocked on the say-so of rights-holders. The amendment is close to one put forward by the BPI (British IFPI) and is a provision which the music industry is actively lobbying for. Can the LibDems continue to have civil liberties credentials?

 ***Amendment 112 has been altered, and replaced by Amendment 120A. This amendment equally raises many concerns regarding possible blocking of websites. It is a joint LibDem/Conservative amendment. It is irreconcilable with any party which appropriates the civil liberties cloak.  ***


The Liberal Democrats  are proposing to alter UK copyright law, in a way which will permit courts to order the blocking of websites  following legal action by rights-holders. They have moved an  amendment    to the Digital Economy Bill,  now in its second debate in the House of Lords. The proposers of the amendment are  two industrialists, Lord Clement Jones and Lord Razzall.

 The LibDem amendment  has serious implications for anyone who runs a website, especially an information website or a search engine. Depending on how it is used and applied, it could have a major chilling effect on the UK Internet over time.


The legal test for whether the court may

Read more: LibDems propose web blocking on say-so of music industry


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.

"original and valuable"  Times higher Education

" 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


FROM £15.99

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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