The internet has taken an awful lot of flak lately, accused of all sorts from murder to drug dealing via rampant piracy. It is little wonder that our brave Government feels the need to rush in and DO SOMETHING before the evil being emitted by our Netbooks and iPads swamps the earth.
As even casual observers will know, passing legislation on the hoof is rarely a good idea and unfortunately ‘doing something’ in this case has meant using end-of-Parliament rules called the ‘wash up’ to pass a draconian Digital Economy Bill without proper debate in the House of Commons. Instead, party whips will negotiate between themselves to get the law onto the statute books before Parliament dissolves for the election. The main causes for concern are:
- A proposal to remove internet access from persistent file-sharers on a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy;
- Making website owners responsible for all content, even if posted by users;
- Forcing internet service providers to pass details of persistent offenders to copyright holders such as music or film companies
Each of these clauses has been amended and altered a couple of times, with the result that it is no longer clear exactly what will be outlawed by the law if it is passed. This is an absurd situation.
So what can you do?
Campaigning organisation 38 degrees have set up a simple website for you to email your MP. You just need to go here, fill in your postcode and the site will do the rest. As they get ready for the election, let’s remind them that we are here, that we have a voice to be heard and that we want our internet to remain free.
Take the time to show your computer some love.