The digital economy bill is highly controversial (What’s left of Digital Britain, Media, 22 March). We believe that it threatens to severely infringe fundamental human rights, by allowing the disconnection of internet accounts for alleged copyright infringement, and also by new “website blocking” laws that could result in new ways to suppress free speech and legitimate activity. There are also dangers to business, through restrictions on provision on open wifi networks, that could damage our economy.
But our worry today is that none of this will be properly debated by parliament. Last week, Harriet Harman MP failed to give the Commons any reassurances that this bill would be properly scrutinised by our elected MPs. Democracy and accountability will be sidestepped if this bill is rushed through and amended without debate.
For these reasons we are writing to ask that those most controversial parts of the bill – covering “technical measures” and court orders for website blocking – either be properly debated, or be taken out of the bill and subjected to genuine democratic scrutiny in a new parliament.
Anthony Barnett openDemocracy, Billy Bragg, Lord Errol, Bridget Fox Liberal Democrat PPC, Islington South & Finsbury, Jo Glanville Editor, Index on Censorship, John Grogan MP, Andrew Heaney Director of regulation, TalkTalk, Julian Huppert Liberal Democrat PPC, Cambridge, Julia and Simon Indelicate The Indelicates, Jim Killock Executive director, Open Rights Group, Nicholas Lansman Secretary general, ISPA, Graham Linehan screenwriter Caroline Lucas Leader, Green party, Baroness Miller, Simon Milner Director of industrial policy, BT, Peter Tatchell, Tom Watson MP, Lord Whitty Chair, Consumer Focus
(Source: The Guardian)
Contact Harriet Harman and tell her how fundamentally important debating the Bill is for our democracy itself. If you value free speech and the rule of law take two minutes right now.
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