Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Speak out against the Digital Economy Bill

Now that the third hearing of the Digital Economy Bill has passed through the House of Lords with many of the original problems either ignored or exacerbated, there is very little time for the public to make their impression felt. It is likely that this Bill will be rushed through the House of Commons with little space being given over to a consideration of it's unintended consequences.

The recent episode of Panorama (Are the Net Police Coming for You?) completely ignored the rights of the public. It suggested that it is persistent downloaders who need to be worried, but it goes even further than that and has the potential to impact on educational institutions and businesses. For many people, this would have been the first time they will have heard about the Bill. When the Bill is first debated by MPs in the House of Commons, they will shut democratic discussion down – after about two hours of debate. As Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group puts it:
So our elected MPs will have spent a whole two hours on this Bill – before they disappear back to Constituencies to ask for our vote.
It's time for more direct action - you need to write to your MP today.

Click this link to write your MP with a preprepared letter

I've sent an amended version of the following letter to my MP, David Miliband, the contents of which can be found below:
Dear [Insert MP Name]

I'm writing to you today because I'm very worried that the Government is planning to rush the Digital Economy Bill into law without a full Parliamentary debate.

The law is controversial and contains many measures that concern me. The controversial Bill deserves proper scrutiny so please don't let the government rush it through. Many people think it will damage schools and businesses as well as innocent people who rely on the internet because it will allow the Government to disconnect people it suspects of copyright infringement.

Industry experts, internet service providers (like Talk Talk and BT) and huge internet companies like Google and Yahoo are all opposing the bill - yet the Government seems intent on forcing it through without a real debate.

As a constituent I am writing to you today to ask you to do all you can to ensure the Government doesn't just rush the bill through and deny us our democratic right to scrutiny and debate.

[Insert your Name]

This will take you two minutes of your time

If you want to know/do more...

The internet ISP, TalkTalk, has created a campaign group called 'Don't Disconnect Us' where you can find the concerns of the industry being voiced. There's also an e-petition over on the government's website which currently has around 34,00 signatures. Sign it.

Meanwhile, Dan Bull has been at it again:

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