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Why Pressure Has to Mount Further

Horror One:

ISPs can now be forced to block off users' connections and provide their names and addresses to disgruntled copyright holders. Frustrating yes, but the big problem is the owner of the account is held solely responsible which means visitors to your home or office or anyone who hijacks your connection are not considered libel. This means you're guilty unless you can prove your innocence.

Horror Two:

Clause 8. This allows the Secretary of State for business to order the closure of a "location on the Internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be {my italics} used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright". That's right, websites can legally be closed on the suspicion that they may do something illegal in the future. A good analogy would be putting someone in prison if you think they may in future be likely to commit an offence. This is the Minority Report thought crime made real and a total violation of civil liberties.

In short the Digital Economy Act is nothing more than Peter Mandleson's ploy to coddle lawsuit-happy copyright holders. It is a sham, rushed through the death throws of the last parliament and under people's noses as general election fever took hold. 20 MPs debated the bill in the House of Commons, 189 voted for it, 47 against, 411 didn't even bother to turn up.

Yes, piracy is wrong - this isn't a defence of it - but the draconian measures in the Digital Economy Act are not how to deal with it and we can only hope others will come forward to support BT & TalkTalk. We only hope, as deputy prime minister of the coalition government, Nick Clegg still feels the same way as he did when simply leader of the Liberal Democrats.The alternative is anarchy. Protesters are promising demonstrations and hackers have said they will crack the home WiFi signals of high profile MPs and use them to download copyright material.

The good news is the Digital Economy Act won't come into force until January 2011 and there are positive caveats. With a Facebook group topping 25,000 members, an online petition reaching over 35,000 signatures and high profile objectors including Stephen Fry already there to back up BT & TalkTalk there is mounting opposition. The big problem is wide scale public awareness. Tell your family, tell your friends, I bet they don't know...

If we allow the Digital Economy Act to be introduced we as a nation show fundamental human rights and basic civil liberties can be compromised for matters other than national security. All of which poses a greater question: if politicians realise they can get away with this, what next?


Digital Economy Act 2010

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