Looking for help with the Online Safety Act  - Ofcom consultation & guidelines? Please get in touch. 

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'

What's in a name? Finally, a public admission by the UK government that the Digital Economy Bill is about Graduated Response. With an  appeals process, not a prior hearing, thus it is unlikely to comply with a new European law. 

 

 The Minister responsible for the Digital Economy Bill in the House of Lords has admitted in Parliament that the Digital Economy Bill is about bringing in a graduated response  system for copyright enforcement on the Internet. This appears to be the first time that the UK government has been explicit in calling it by its rightful name.

 

Speaking in the Lords last week (26 January 2010), Lord Young of Norwood Green, Parliamentary Under-

Read more: Digital Economy Bill: Minister admits it's graduated response

The Digital Economy Bill includes a new Code to limit Internet access.   The government may bypass consultation process to bring it into force.

 

The UK Digital Economy Bill, currently going through the House of Lords, provides for  a new Code  which will  implement the government's plans for  dealing with peer-to-peer filesharing and any form of copyright infringement via the Internet. The Code is to be drawn up behind the scenes, by Ofcom, without scrutiny of Parliament. 

The  new code is outlined in

 

 

Read more: UK 3-strikes bill: Code to limit Internet access

Is the House of Lords serious? Could users be asked to divulge their computer logs in order to prove themselves innocent of copyright infringement?

 

The debate last week on the Digital Economy Bill  discussed the tribunal procedure for applying sanctions to users accused of copyright infringement. The question was asked  by Lord Lucas,  how would a user be able to prove their innocence? I will say upfront, that he was not happy with the answer he got.

 

The Digital Economy Bill provides for a 3-strikes system against peer-to-peer downloading and alleged copyright infringement. Lord Lucas'  concern is that in a 

Read more: Digital Economy Bill: will users have to divulge logs?

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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

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