Digital Economy Bill too hastily drawn up???

The UK Government made an announcement that it will take another look at plans to block websites that infringe copyrights which made up part of its controversial Digital Economy Act (DEA). This decision comes following a number of complaints about ‘how viable this will be to implement on a day to day basis?’ and on the back of stern criticism for being a piece of rushed legislation.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has now asked Ofcom to consider the viability of blocking certain websites.

“I have no problem with the principle of blocking access to websites used exclusively for facilitating illegal downloading of content […] But it is not clear whether the site blocking provisions in the Act could work in practice so I have asked Ofcom to address this question.” said Mr Hunt.

Among the questions for Ofcom to consider are:

Is it possible for access to the site to be blocked by internet service providers?
How robust would such a block be?
Can specific parts of the site be blocked?
What would it cost ISPs to implement such blocks?
Should the responsibility fall on ISPs at all?
What about pornography and indecent / illegal images? (see here)

“The web blocking provisions are a real mistake – they would stifle freedom of expression, for unproven benefit, whilst being extremely costly and difficult to manage,” said Peter Bradwell, an Open Rights Group campaigner.

The DEA is subject to a judicial review, which will look at whether the act is legal and justifiable.

The review, granted to ISPs BT and TalkTalk, will take place in March.

Opponents claim that the legislation was rushed through parliament without proper debate and that the methods that would be used to identify net pirates are flawed and unfair.

In a recent court case brought against 27 alleged illegal file-sharers, it was argued that the IP address of a computer, the numerical code that identifies the connection, cannot be used as evidence because it fails to identify the individual responsible.

The judge is due to rule on the case imminently.

The government needs secondary legislation before it can procced with any plans to block websites. Ofcom is due to report back in the spring.

For the full article check out: (BBC News)

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