Technology as a way of life

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser...

The controversial Digital Economy Bill has passed its third reading and will pass into law, after just two hours of debate in the Common.
The bill passed with a majority of 189 votes to 47. Under the legislation, ISPs will be forced to send letters to alleged file-sharers threatening to suspend their internet connections. It also grants the secretary of state for business the power to block "a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright".

The power replaces Clause 18 which granted the Government wide-ranging powers to deal with future methods of copyright infringement without the need for further legislation.
However, Labour MP John Hemming protested that the power could still prove a danger to sites such as Wikileaks - the whistle blowing website that hosts copyrighted material.

"A recent example is the US air force video, which it published," argued Hemming. "Copyright exists with the US Government, who under the Bill could, and would want to, apply to ban WikiLeaks from the UK. That provision is clearly in the Bill."

The objection was waved aside by Digital Britain Minister Stephen Timms who claimed it was important the bill did not impede freedom of speech, but offered no guarantees on the future of sites such as Wikileaks.
While a number of MPs complained that the bill was too big to be dealt with in "wash up", the most damning sentiment came from former Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson who wrote on Twitter "First time I've ever broken the whip in the chamber. I feel physically sick."


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