Government & Big Business Today


Graham Paterson




It is being reported that the Digital Economy Bill has been passed by the House of Lords with a view to rushing it through before the General Election.


When the digital Britain report came out last year, I found it to be a fairly balanced assessment with regards to trying to cover the aspect of piracy and the rights of the individual.


But what happens:

Lord Mandelson, an unelected peer who has already been ‘fired’ TWICE has a meeting with David Geffen – the head of one of the major music labels – on Mr Geffen’s yacht.   Mandelson suddenly proceeds to announce that internet piracy is almost akin to Satanism.


I am exaggerating to a certain degree, but he suddenly brings all these caveats to the bill including a 3 strikes rule that the EU has actually ruled illegal.  He is also insisting that ISPs must start policing their customers for every piece of data they download, this seems like ‘wire tapping’ by proxy which is currently only permitted on the say so of a judge.


Now I want to try and be balanced when looking at this bill, but it is difficult when yet again we see the Labour Government using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.  Also, it has been shown time and again that when this current administration rushes in knee jerk reactionary legislation, the resultant bill tends to have holes miles wide.


I want to add this final point; a major problem with this bill is that the majority of those lords & MPs who will be voting on it have (as far as I can tell) no grasp of the new & emerging technologies it seeks to govern, my fear is that they want to try and maintain the status quo.


Technology is constantly evolving, how can this be adequately legislated for when the legislators will always be playing catchup?