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UPD UK MP Tables Early Day Motion to Stop ISP Users Being Cut-off from the Internet

Posted: 16th Jun, 2011 By: MarkJ
uk parliament logoThe Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, Julian Huppert, has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) called 'Disconnection Of Users From The Internet', which uses a recent UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report as ammunition to demand a repeal of the Digital Economy Act (DEA) laws that permit disconnection ("suspension") of users from their broadband ISP and thus the internet.

EDMs are formal motions submitted for debate in the UK governments House of Commons. However, very few EDMs are ever actually debated. Instead, they're often used for publicising the views of individual MPs, drawing attention to specific events or campaigns, and demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.

Earlier this month the UNHRC heavily criticised the governments Digital Economy Act (here), which seeks to tackle "illegal" P2P file sharing based internet copyright infringement, and called upon the UK to repeal or amend any existing intellectual copyright laws that permit ISP users to be disconnected from the net.

The UNHRC's Special Rapporteur, Frank La Rue, said:

"The Special Rapporteur considers cutting off users from Internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Special Rapporteur calls upon all States to ensure that Internet access is maintained at all times, including during times of political unrest. In particular, the Special Rapporteur urges States to repeal or amend existing intellectual copyright laws which permit users to be disconnected from Internet access, and to refrain from adopting such laws."

Julian Huppert's 14th June 2011 EDM said:

That this House welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on Free Expression, Frank de la Rue, to the Human Rights Council of United Nations; notes that he is `alarmed' by the Digital Economy Act 2010 and other three strikes disconnection laws and that he considers them to be a violation of freedom of expression; further notes the report's recommendation to repeal laws permitting disconnection of users from the internet; further notes that La Rue emphasises that web censorship should never be delegated to private entities, and that corporations should only act to block and censor with the authority of a judicial process; and calls on appropriate Parliamentary Select Committees and the Government to re-examine new website blocking proposals from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, as part of the Home Office's Prevent strategy, and in sections 3 to 18 of the Digital Economy Act 2011 in the light of this report.

So far the motion (EDM) has been signed by a total of just 7 MPs and is unlikely to gain enough traction for a wider debate, much like Huppert's previous and similarly DEA related EDM (here).
EDM - Disconnection Of Users From The Internet
UPDATE 1st July 2011

The above website claims that this EDM has now attracted 55 cross-party signatures, which is pretty good. However, the official Parliament website states that the figure is actually closer to 62. Most of the support is coming from Labour party members, which is an interesting twist given their lack of support for similar EDM's last year.

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