Digital Economy Bill 2017 Update

Posted on May 03 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Digital Economy Bill 2017 Update

Last week the Digital Economy Bill 2016-7 was passed by both Houses of Parliament and now receives Royal Assent which means it will be law imminently. The new legislation brings with it a number of important new implications for the industry (with some last minute changes to be aware of) so we’ve provided a summary of the key points below:

30Mbps USO scrapped in favour of 10Mbps

The 10Mbps USO for broadband has been on the cards for quite some time and its approval comes as no surprise to us. However, quite recently a proposal was passed by the House of Lords to increase this to 30Mbps by the existing 2020 deadline which seemed completely implausible to us. This has since been scrapped and the original 10Mbps confirmed; however a further clause to increase the USO has now been included. The Government will now be able to raise the USO’s minimum speed, once 75% of households have been upgraded to ‘superfast broadband’ services.

A full consultation is now expected to be held to iron out the details of the USO implementation, funding and requirements on industry.

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‘Growing up on the Internet’ – Education is key!

Posted on Mar 23 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on ‘Growing up on the Internet’ – Education is key!

This week the House of Lords’ Communications Committee published a new report, ‘Growing up with the Internet’ which looks at how children should be protected online and sets out a number of new recommendations for industry and Government.

Key recommendations from the report are:

    • We recommend that all ISPs and mobile network operators should be required not only to offer child-friendly content control filters, but also for those filters to be ‘on’ by default for all customers. Adult customers should be able to switch off such filters.
    • Those responsible for providing filtering and blocking services need to be transparent about which sites they block and why, and be open to complaints from websites to review their decisions within an agreed timeframe. Filter systems should be designed to an agreed minimum standard.
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    Age verification – Essential protection or slippery censorship slope?

    Posted on Feb 15 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Age verification – Essential protection or slippery censorship slope?

    Late last year news started to emerge that several amends had been made to the already highly controversial Digital Economy Bill (DEB) including the requirements around ‘age verification’ on pornography websites.

    The original plan was to include a note in the DEB to ensure the current optional ‘Parental Controls’ remained available to all customers following changes in EU legislation regarding net neutrality. However, the remit has expanded somewhat and now the DEB wants to implement a ‘tough age verification system’ on all websites displaying ‘adult content’ with ISPs required to block access to any such websites that are non-compliant.

    We discuss whether or not this is necessary to effectively protect children from accessing pornography on the Internet or if it’s a slippery slope towards further censorship?

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    The even Greater Firewall of China!

    Posted on Feb 06 2015 by Neil Watson | 1 Comment

    It’s no secret that China imposes wide reaching Internet censorship on its citizens – nicknamed the Great Firewall of China, but this Firewall just got greater as the Chinese Government strengthened its blocks against VPNs (and other means of circumvention) last week.

    For years, Chinese citizens have been subject to the Government’s Internet censorship which blocks access to many Western sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google as well as email clients such as Gmail and is known to restrict access to information that is ‘critical’ of the Chinese Government. Their argument is they are trying to ‘enhance development’ of their own Internet services within the country and give Chinese based tech firms an advantage over foreign competition. Critics argue though that their actions actually hamper innovation and serve only to control and restrict the information their citizens have access to.

    Until now many citizens used VPNs to circumvent the filters and gain access to the ‘forbidden’ sites but last week it was reported that China has increased its Firewall capabilities and is specifically targeting VPNs and other circumvention methods to enforce its restrictions. It is also increasing the ‘requirements’ it makes on foreign companies wanting to do business within China.

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