Having watched the majority of tv debates over the past few weeks, much has focused on the dreadful state of the public purse and the huge deficit our children and grandchildren will be paying back in the decades to come. This is quite rightly at the forefront of everyone's mind. But one area of the economy that hasn't been subject to tv debate is that of the digital economy.
For those who are unaware, the Digital Economy Act may well be one of the last acts of the current Labour government, who forced the bill through in 'wash-up' before parliament was dissolved last month. Its legacy may be felt for some time - a fact not lost on the liberal masses of Twitter and other social media groups.
Much of the debate was purported by middle-aged men in suits who probably never use the internet. Here are just some of the Bill's unintended consequences...
- The ability for copyright holders to force ISPs to block access to websites they say are hosting illegally copied files.
- Owners of publicly accessible wi-fi hotspots will be liable for piracy committed on their connection.
- Compulsory internet disconnection for persistent internet pirates.
- Innocent non-technical people may be prosecuted for failure to police their own network
- Potential for a rise of filesharing, as seen in recent Sweden legislation, through stronger encryption which has the potential to throttle already over saturated networks.
There is no doubt that parliament has do something to tackle illegal filesharing, I mean we all knew this gravy train would have to end eventually - but this poorly thought out and inadequately scrutinised act is not it. As can be seen above, hardly any of our MP's bothered to turn up for the debate, with only 38.2% bothering to vote at all. One by one, MP's of both Blue and Red persuasion lined up to argue that such an important bill should not be pushed through in wash-up, but then proceeded to vote in favour of its passing.
On the upside, like Napster became Audiogalaxy; and Audiogalaxy became BitTorrent, hackers have a habit of staying one step ahead of the game.
The most recent developments from the hacking world have discovered a block of 86 lines of C# code which many claim will make BitTorrent downloads untraceable. All of which serves to highlight the futility of the DE Act and the way it has been rushed through.
So, before you cast your vote, it may interest you to know how your own MP voted. To do so, check out this website:
The only major policitcal party to publicly state they will repeal the Act should they gain power are the Liberal Democrats. Just saying...