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Facebook Lends its Weight to the UK Internet Service Providers Association

Tuesday, Dec 18th, 2012 (1:24 pm) - Score 748

The ever growing concern over government interference in how internet access and online content are regulated became more obvious today after it was revealed that Facebook, the global social networking giant, had officially joined the UK Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA).

Until fairly recently the ISPA UK was a considerably smaller organisation but the situation today is very different. Now many big name ISPs and online content providers (e.g. Google) have joined, which has allowed the organisation to speak with a more effective and representative voice.

The ISPA states that its “main activity is in making representations on behalf of the industry to Government bodies“, which has become increasingly relevant post-2008 when the UK government of the day began a series of proposals that have since covered everything from superfast broadband expansion to copyright enforcement; this continues even today.

The lack of even basic technical understanding amongst many politicians also makes it especially important for the ISPA to speak with a single voice. The internet often doesn’t work in the way that some people think, which can result in poor decisions and bad laws.

Trefor Davies, Timico’s CTO and ISPA Member, said:

We have to have a grown up approach to the subject of internet regulation and have to be sensible to the fact that in a world that has moved online the problems have moved with it. It is fair that those that we pay to protect us should expect our cooperation when they ask for help in doing this. It isn’t always palatable to say no though sometimes it needs doing.

ISPA has over two hundred stakeholders and therefore has a difficult job in treading a line that is seen to be acceptable to all. The trade body by its very nature has also to work in very close cooperation with government departments, often helping to shape draft laws before they hit the public eye.

ISPA does a very good job of this and is also streetwise enough to understand how to approach “problems” such as the Draft Communications Data Bill that can sometimes be thrown out of left field. It is therefore an endorsement of the organisation that the likes of Facebook and Google want to throw their weight behind it.”

At the same time it’s worth remembering that most of the ISPA’s positions often appear to closely mirror the thoughts and feelings of consumers too. For example, the ISPA has managed to make balanced points of concern about the revived internet snooping bill, which echoed wider fears about the states seemingly growing desire to spy on everybodies online activity.

In addition new rules and regulations can also cost money to implement, which is something that the end user ultimately has to foot the bill for. Suffice to say that an ISPA which can represent both access and content providers effectively would be quite a potent force, especially when it considers the consumer viewpoint too.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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