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MPs want talks on the Digital Economy Act axe

Alarm raised over disconnection laws
Thu Jun 16 2011, 17:30

A GROUP OF MPs is pushing for fresh talks on the Digital Economy Act and its plans to cut off internet users after so-called 'three strikes'.

In an early day motion filed today it was revealed that in a report presented to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, Frank de la Rue, the special rapporteur on free expression, said that he was 'alarmed' by the plans.

"[De La Rue] notes that he is 'alarmed' by the Digital Economy Act 2010 and other three strikes disconnection laws and that he considers them to be a violation of freedom of expression," reads the early day motion.

This, along with some other warnings that have been eye-searingly obvious from the start, and have been repeated in front of ministers time after time, has kicked some life into the old House, and now we could get a chance to see the DEA thrown into the dustbin of stupidity for good, at last.

"La Rue emphasises that web censorship should never be delegated to private entities, and that corporations should only act to block and censor with the authority of a judicial process," adds the motion, and it "calls on appropriate Parliamentary Select Committees and the Government to re-examine new website blocking proposals from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport".

The motion carries the support and signatures of nine MPs, and the support of the UK Pirate Party, of course.

"It's time to axe the act" reads a celebratory tweet from the Pirate Party, which continues, "Ask your MP to support [the motion]".

According to political blogger James Firth the cost of three strikes enforcement could amount to as much as £5.9m pounds a year. Firth, rather splendidly, asked Ofcom through a freedom of information request to provide information on the cost of the Act so far.

According to its response Ofcom has already spent just under £2m and expects to spend about another £4m before the end of the financial year - most of it on dealing with the three strikes business.

"The total amount spent since the [Digital Economy] Act was passed is £1.9m, which includes £1.8m on the 3-strikes notification and appeals procedures and £100,000 on a review of the potential efficacy of the site-blocking provisions of the DEA (section 17 and 18)," he explained.

"Ofcom expect to spend a further £4.0m in the current financial year, responding to my request to divulge any estimates made in their forward plans, taking the grand total to £5.9m - excluding anything spent at the DCMS." µ




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