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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 3-strikes/graduated response measures in the  Digital Economy Bill entail State-sponsored measures to limit Internet access. They will  impact on fundamental rights. The government should fully justify why it wants to interfere with those rights.

 

A Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has examined the UK's proposed 3-strikes/graduated response measures,  which occupy the lion's share of the inappropriately-named  Digital Economy Bill.  The Committee's  report was released last Friday, and it contains a  serious and exhaustive criticism  of the Bill. 

 Although  many news media are drawing the obvious  conclusion that   the Bill breaches human rights, I think it is actually more complicated than that.

 

 In fact, the report highlights areas where there is a likely breach

Read more: Does the Digital Economy Bill breach human rights law?

Tom Watson and Don Foster have placed calls in the UK Parliament for information on the ACTA . But are they asking the right questions?

 

The UK Member of Parliament Tom Watson, who is courageously opposing his own party on the issue of copyright enforcment, has asked in Parliament for information on the ACTA process. ACTA is a proposed  international agreement which will impose new copyright enforcement measures onto Internet users worldwide, and it has serious implications for civil liberties and freedom of speech.  

 

Questioning one of the  Ministers from the Department of

Read more: UK politicians try to lever open ACTA

Digital Economy Bill: Nominet provisions. Should the government be able to step in and take over the Internet domain registry? If so, under what conditions?

 

The final stages of  the House of Lords examination of  the Digital Economy Bill  saw their lordships arguing over  a clause which will give the government the power to take over the Internet domain registry in cases where there has been a "serious failure" .

 

The government wants the provision (in Clause 18)  because the Internet is now so important for the UK economy.  One would asssume that the concern relates to the management of the domain servers by the registry, and ensuring that they do not become sloppy resulting in network failures for consumers downstream. However, the government has not specified that

Read more: What is a serious failure of an Internet registry?

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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

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