So following on from the letter to my MP, I’ve also written to Harriet Harman, the current leader of the house of Common to ask for a debate, some background over at BoingBoing and Richard King’s excellent letter, writing your own only takes a few minutes.
Dear Harriet Harman,
I am writing to you in your role as Leader of the House of Commons. Please allow the Digital Economy Bill to have the debate, and genuine, line by line scrutiny such an important piece of legislation deserves. I have been on-line since 1993 and have been earning my living as part of the digital economy since 1997 but I see much that troubles me in this bill.
We are told the Bill will reduce copyright infringement on the Internet but with encryption services such as IPredator and HideMyAss, and products like the Pogoplug, even non-technical user can simple bypass any monitoring.
Web blocking also deserves thorough debate while again can be bypass using encryption services, removing access to sections of the internet is not an action that should be taken without careful consideration of all the consequences.
The danger to free WiFi access offered by small businesses is also something that needed careful consideration, making owners liable for infringement is making owners much less likely to offer this useful service in the future.
Given Monday’s announcements by the Prime Minster on giving every citizen access to personalised services via the internet, disconnection is a restriction on allowing those people access to government services, not to mention limiting their freedom of expression, education and work, all because of the actions of another household member.
This Bill has been the subject of heavy lobbying. With the BPI crafted the original amendment introducing Clause 18. There have been suggestions that one Lord who tabled such amendments had undeclared interests. The effect of this lobbying needs to be examined – which can only happen through full democratic scrutiny. In the wake of recent revelations about abuse of lobbying, we feel it is even more vital to have full scrutiny of this legislation.
Over 12,000 individuals have written to MPs asking for debate. I therefore ask you to consider making sure that clauses 11-18 of the Digital Economy Bill are given serious consideration, and are not rushed through during the ‘wash-up’ process.