Thursday, 8 July 2010

Legal Challenge To The Digital Economy Bill

As I blogged here back in March, aside from the justified draconian criticisms of the Digital Economy Bill, the other problem with it, is that it could be challenged under EU law. This is precisely what is now happening, as TalkTalk and BT are going to the High Court to in effect challenge the legality of the Act. The BBC reports:

BT and TalkTalk are seeking a judicial review of the controversial Digital Economy Act, BBC News has learned.

The two internet service providers want the High Court to clarify the legality of the act before it is implemented.

The act was "rushed through" parliament before the general election, they say.

Both think it had "insufficient scrutiny" and question whether its proposals to curb illegal file-sharing harm "basic rights and freedoms".

In particular TalkTalk and BT are attempting to seek:

clarity as to whether the act conflicts with EU legislation.

It could conflict with Europe's e-commerce directive which states that ISPs are "mere conduits" of content and should not be held responsible for the traffic on their networks.

It may also be in contravention of the privacy and electronic communciations directive, said Mr Heaney.

I simply find it astonishing that a mere humble blogger like myself, with no training in EU law, was able to predict this, yet our elected legislators neither knew nor cared. The coalition's response to the challenge?:
But the coalition government told the BBC it had no plans to change it.

"The Digital Economy Act sets out to protect our creative economy from the continued threat of online copyright infringement, which industry estimates costs the creative industries, including creators, £400m per year," read a statement from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

"We believe measures are consistent with EU legislation and that there are enough safeguards in place to protect the rights of consumers and ISPs and will continue to work on implementing them."

We shall see. Leaving the EU element aside from moment, it's interesting that the unpopularity of this Act is reflected by the Your Freedom website which has more than a few requests to repeal it.

"It’s time to have your say. After all – it’s your freedom", the website promises. The coalition attitude to the Act? "We have no plans to change it?"

This listening to the voters marlarky is going well isn't it?

No comments:

Post a Comment