Monday, February 08, 2010

Digital Economy Bill rumblings continue


The BBC report that the file sharing provisions set out in the Digital Economy Bill could breach the rights of Internet users. In addition, the bill could create over-broad powers.

The concerns have been expressed following scrutiny of the Bill by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Human Rights. From the summary of their report:
"The Bill provides for the Secretary of State to have the power to require ISPs to take “technical measures” in respect of account holders who have been the subject of copyright infringement reports. The scope of the measures will be defined in secondary legislation and could be wide-ranging. We do not believe that such a skeletal approach to powers which engage human rights is appropriate. There is potential for these powers to be applied in a disproportionate manner which could lead to a breach of internet users’ rights to respect for correspondence and freedom of expression."
The BBC report the Chair of the Committee, Andrew Dismore MP, as saying "The internet is constantly creating new challenges for policy-makers but that cannot justify ill-defined or sweeping legislative responses, especially when there is the possibility of restricting freedom of expression or the privacy of individual users."

In other coverage, the FT report that the Bill has been dealt a severe blow by the resignation of  SiĆ“n Simon, junior minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and one the ministers charged with pushing the Bill through Parliament before the election

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