How do I hate thee, Digital Economy Bill? Let me count the ways…

1. It’s the economy, stupid

Last week’s official advice (Word doc) on the bill ‘would effectively “outlaw open Wi-Fi for small businesses”‘ said Lilian Edwards, professor of internet law at Sheffield University.

“This is going to be a very unfortunate measure for small businesses, particularly in a recession, many of whom are using open free Wi-Fi very effectively as a way to get the punters in,” Edwards said.

It also makes it harder and more expensive for the sort of mobile young business people who frequent these shops. In Birmingham, for example, many entrepreneurs meet in places like Urban Coffee Company and Coffee Lounge to network, exchange ideas, and work (often at the same time). Take that away and you’re making it more expensive for those people to do business, it’s as simple as that.

In addition, the likes of Clause 17 (see below) make it difficult for any business to plan and innovate in an environment which can be changed on the whim of the Secretary of State.

2. Death to open access

Last week’s document would also “leave libraries and universities in an uncertain position,” adds Edwards. From ZDNet:

“Universities cannot be exempted, [Lord] Young said [in the document], because some universities already have stringent anti-file-sharing rules for their networks, and “it does not seem sensible to force those universities who already have a system providing very effective action against copyright infringement to abandon it and replace it with an alternative”.”

In fact, the government would do well to look more closely at just how ‘effective’ those university measures have been. I know of students who have had internet access cut off without notice for apparently completely legal activity. I guess you’d call that ‘collateral damage’, and it’s a sign of things to come if we extend the principle throughout the country.

There’s a principle of open access to knowledge here that lies at the heart of what libraries and universities do. Restricting their (already hamstrung) ability to offer that is of real concern.

3. Unchecked power

Clause 17. Backed by the NUJ. Are you insane?

Clause 11. From SamKnows:

“What’s rapidly becoming the textbook example of this is the way that legislation designed to freeze terrorist funds was used against one of Iceland’s banks, Landisbanki, during the country’s recent financial crisis.

“[Francis Davey, a practising barrister and legal advisor, says] “Clause 11 could easily be used to force the blocking of specific sites or group of sites, such as those that have been identified as having unlawful content by an organisation like the Internet Watch Foundation; or the choking of specific forms of P2P protocol,” he told Samknows. “There is not even a requirement that the subscribers to ISP’s are made aware of technical measures which could be imposed by stealth. The fact that there is no need to publish or consult on the use of the power means that there is minimal external quality control, or publicity which might serve in lieu of parliamentary scrutiny.””

4. The logic behind it is flawed, the data is skewed, and most people don’t want it

There’s a great piece by Rory Cellan-Jones that identifies some of the data that is lacking surrounding the bill. Meanwhile, hello everyone from Mark Thomas and Google, Facebook, Yahoo and eBay, to MI5, Talk Talk and, yes, Stephen Fry, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, Metropolitan Police, Consumer Focus, er, the public according to polls.

What can you do?

You don’t even have to take to the streets…

You can also receive email and RSS updates for the Bill via the Parliament website

5 thoughts on “How do I hate thee, Digital Economy Bill? Let me count the ways…

  1. Andy Mabbett

    I don’t understand. Sion Simon MP assured me that it’s “still possible to have open networks whose settings protect the host from unlawful activity on the network” (Twitter status 5951557332) while acknowledging that some torrent activities are legal (Twitter status 5951733756).

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Communicating With The Young · Ciaran's Random Writings

  3. Pingback: Links 2/3/2010: Linux-2.6.33-libre is Released | Boycott Novell

  4. Henry Massingale

    3/08/2010

    This economy will not balance with this concept of a tax forum against the Health Care System. The issue of how to force pay into this system of Health Care may have worked but I am still troubled over the progressive tax forum within this Bill. It covers so many items and Countries that it only forces the system to adjust itself. In some areas, increases against the people and the troubled economy, and in other areas, less effects will be felt.
    But this is my big problem, Government Officials seek help and they are to proud to ask us, “the true working force of Government.” It is understandable they have failed the People and within the United States Of America all we ask is to see us as who we are and not try to bring us into this world of the intellectual. I guess our Prime Directive is that of Star Trek, so it must be understood that for millions of people we are just as happy as can be making $13.00 per hour and we have no interest in this world of politics, and how to be a Enstine. Government Officials must understand that there is a level of people within different parts of this Country, that seek to be only that they find to make them happy.
    As for this economy well, it is said that the U.S.A. Arms Division has created enough arsenal to destroy every last creature in the world 2 times over,built with tax dollars. This would be funny if not for the irony of it. And now as time has passed Government Officials keep failing. Before 9/11 all the way to today.
    1.As it is in a world of a system, when employees continue to fail, one or two things happen, one; you get fired, two; if you see into a person a good, then it is political correct to implement a penalty or roll back in pay. But this implement of penalty is more favored in the course of action in the Federal Employment World. So how to fix the economy and unite it with the Health Care issue. It would be in the Countries best interest to implement a 10% per cent penalty against every State, County and Government Official within this Matrix of failures. Hey what is that old saying, what is good for the Goose is good for the Gander. I am serous about this, it is past due to show that our Government Officials they have failed, their system failure reaches into this world of warnings that they brush aside as if the information is not worthy noting. From Pearl Harbor to 9/11/2001 to 3/07/2010 of our tax system and Health Care Reform. This 10% per cent penalty should go into the Health Care Forum.
    2. The big problem that Government Officials have is that they have no street credit. President Obama still has some but if he does not take his family and step away from these dueling Parties, that fight over this Health Care Dollar, and stand with Us he will lose all credit from the streets to the county.
    3. President Obama, I would say to you, you have one last chance to regain the hopes and dreams of the American People. To reach out in a concept that states, if there is 250 million people in trouble because of these failures, I would give all my money to them and then I would say to all that I gave money to, “I have no money left, would you all please give me $1.00 back and then I would have $250. million dollars to start all over again.”
    4. Some have stated that I clam to have spiritual in site or something of the sort. I assure you this is not true, so when I state that I asked God to help, it is my way of saying hey Bobby show me how to work on theses Chevy engines. But I do thank you for the consideration. Consider me a cross of Jethro Bodine from the Beverly Hill Billies with my 10th. Grade education and Vin Diesel from the move Pitch Black.
    5. Henry Massingale
    6. FASC Concepts in and for Pay It Forward
    7. http://www.fascmovement.mysite.com on google, look for page 1 american dream official site

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Henry Massingale Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.