Digital Economy Bill rushed through by MPs who know nothing about it

April 8th, 2010 16 Comments By Andy Dawson
commons floor 460 300x191 Digital Economy Bill rushed through by MPs who know nothing about it

Can you see YOUR MP in this picture?

With a general election on the way, we got to see a true, albeit grim example of democracy in action last night, as the controversial Digital Economy Bill was hurriedly passed as part of the government’s ‘washing up’ programme ahead of the big vote.

Once the bill becomes law, internet service providers will be obliged to send letters to any of their subscribers linked to alleged copyright infringements. Copyright holders will also be able to apply for a court order to gain access to the names and addresses of repeat offenders and take legal action against them. Meanwhile, ISPs will also be able to suspend accounts of offenders.

MP Tom Watson stated that over 20,000 people have emailed their MPs over the past week in protest at some of the aspects of the bill – including the fact that people who live in the same building as ‘copyright thieves’ could find themselves caught up in legal action, despite being innocent of any crime.

The already-muddled piece of proposed legislation, skewed by ‘lobbying’ from the creative industries (and non-UK citizen David Geffen, while playing host to Lord Mandelson on his big yacht) could have a massive effect on how the Internet is used in the UK but it was rushed through almost unchecked with just a handful of MPs present to discuss its various clauses. Of course, when it came to the vote, hordes of them swarmed in from the bar to put their name to a bill that they knew nothing about.

We can’t really sum up how we feel about it any better than Skeptobot’s excellent, detailed blog post which covers how the evening unfolded in the House Of Commons. So go to there.

EDIT: Oh, and our very own Mof Gimmers has had a bit of a rant about it all as well.

Comments (16) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by JonnySpandex April 8, 2010 at 11:48 am

    What a complete load of bollocks!

  2. Posted by Zleet April 8, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Internet in the UK – RIP 2010

  3. Posted by Adebisi April 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    ‘Internet in every home by 2012 unless we have banned you’

  4. Posted by ClamMan April 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    ISPs can’t see what I’m downloading anyway.
    SSL Usenet = All data is encrypted so all my ISP knows is how much I’m downloading but can’t see what files I’m downloading :)

  5. Posted by JonnySpandex April 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Because you or someone else on your connection has downloading possibly something

  6. Posted by Brian's Uncle April 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    unbelievable. UK to censor information like China? The great firewall of the UK?

  7. Usenet all the way, and Feargal Sharkey getting raped by a lifer at Parkhurst . Happy days.

  8. Posted by Nobby April 8, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    This bill makes me want to fileshare.

  9. Posted by The Real Bob April 8, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Time to start using an encrypted proxy then.

  10. Posted by ClamMan April 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    http://www.didmympshowupornot.com

    Did My MP Show Up or Not?
    No! (Booooo!)

  11. Posted by Nobby April 8, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I read that as Did my MP show u porn OT ?

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  13. Posted by Adebisi April 8, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    This is great news as nobody at work knows how to download fom usenet (using ssl encription) so I will start selling films, music and games to them – this really is a good time for the entrepreneur!!

  14. Posted by Imhji April 8, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    You have to pay for Usenet with SSL though don’t you?

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