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By: MarkJ - 6 April, 2010 (12:38 AM)
parliament_logo.gifToday, adverts in the Guardian and Times will call on Government MPs to make sure the Digital Economy Bill (DEB) receives full debate, rather than being rushed through ‘wash-up’. DEB, which is designed to tackle online copyright infringement, could spell the end of public / open Wi-Fi Hotspots, force legitimate websites to close (potentially this might even affect Google and YouTube) and could result in innocent broadband ISP users being disconnected from the internet.

Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group, said:

“Disconnection is inappropriate and draconian. People use the internet for work, education and free speech. You cannot take that away without a very serious reason. Copyright infringement allegations are not on that scale.

The Bill needs to be fully debated and scrutinised. MPs and Parliament have duties and rights. What a way to begin an election, ramming through draconian legislation without full debate.”

At present the Liberal Democrats are the only political party to take a firm stand against the Bill and have called for it to be delayed until a fuller debate can be had in the next parliament. It remains to be seen whether this will be enough.

UPDATE 7th April

The bad news, as you will all now be aware, is that the bill has now effectively been passed. The good news is that Clause 18 (website blocking) will be given more parliamentary scrutiny at a later date. Sadly this still leaves several huge holes in the legislation, not least how innocent users will still be targeted for disconnection. It will also make operating a shared public Wi-Fi network extremely impractical.
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