I've been tweeting quite a lot recently, not about travel, but about politics and in particular, the Digital Economy Bill (#DEbill)... or as I prefer to think of it, the Internet Control, Surveillance and Punishment Bill.
A couple of people have queried me about it, so here's where I'm coming from.
I don't have a problem with much of #DEbill. Most of the provisions on regional news, DAB radio, etc are fine. So too are the clauses on infrastructure, though I think we've been short-changed. The national target min speed should be at least 50Mb, not a pathetic 2Mb, if we are to keep pace with other digital economies.
I do have an issue with "orphan works" clauses which, like much of the bill, haven't really been thought through or debated enough and should have been amended to protect the rights of contemporary photographers.
Importantly, I am not against anti-piracy legislation to protect the music, tv & film industries even though many commentators argue that those industries are out of touch with new technology and need to change their business models. I could be swayed either way on that, but I pay for all my downloaded music & video and feel at least in the short term there should be a way to stop the large-scale free sharing of those works.
My big issue with #DEbill is that, instead of being targeted, it introduces sweeping sledgehammer legislation (deliberately I suspect) that once again tramples all over our civil liberties. It doesn't just cover .mp3 and .mov file sharing. It covers all content that a copyright holder considers infringed, AND the offended party doesn't even have to prove the infringement before a jury (remember those? No longer required thanks to this totalitarian government).
So, if, despite my encouragement over recent weeks/days, you didn't try to counter-balance the huge industry lobby by writing to your MP about this, let me see if I can paint you a simple hypothetical picture of what your back-sliding acquiescence may have enabled...
From: Chairman, GreedyBastard PLC
To: Secretary of State
It appears somebody has leaked an internal memo listing the sums we have been covertly depositing in your Swiss bank account. Something must be done immediately. By the way, we consider this to be a frightful infringement of our copyright on this document, nod nod, wink wink.
Now do you geddit?
From: Ofcom Enforcement Officer
To: Innocent Conduit ISP Ltd
It has been drawn to our attention that two websites which you host, Wikileaks.com and BroadsheetNewspaper.co.uk, are offering for download a copyrighted work belonging to GreedyBastard PLC.
Under our sweeping new powers, I order you to sever connections to the aforementioned websites. You may ignore any protestations of innocence which are irrelevant under the Digital Economy Bill 2010.