Age verification – Essential protection or slippery censorship slope?

Posted on Feb 15 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | No Comments

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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Guest Blog: What will 2017 hold for the industry?

Posted on Feb 07 2017 by Guest | No Comments
Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

2017 is once again set to be a big year for the industry with significant policy developments on the horizon. In the coming year, the Digital Economy Bill will become law; there will be changes to Ofcom’s General Conditions; and the Investigatory Powers Act will be implemented. There will also be new Government funding for full-fibre broadband and changes to broadband advertising rules – all against a backdrop of Brexit and political instability. In the light of these developments it is incredibly important that the breadth of Internet industry views are heard and that is where we turn to industry bodies such as ISPA, to ensure we have our say. Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General from ISPA informs us of the key areas they are currently involved in and what we should be aware of in 2017.

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Bye bye net neutrality, hello state censorship?

Posted on Dec 13 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | No Comments

Not content with forcing ISPs to store the browsing history of UK citizens (as enshrined into law via the Investigatory Powers Act), the Government now appears to be ignoring the concept of net neutrality with its latest Bill entering the House of Lords. The Digital Economy Bill, due its second reading in the Lords today (13th December 2016), compels websites carrying material which “it is reasonable to assume from its nature that any classification certificate issued in respect of a video work including it would be an R18 certificate” to carry out age verification checks to try and stop youngsters accessing such material. If the sites don’t do this, ISPs will be required to block them. Yet EU net neutrality rules state that all Internet traffic must be treated equally and goes so far as to say that Governments cannot block access to sites that are legal – even if they are distasteful.

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Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund: welcome but not enough

Posted on Nov 24 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | No Comments

In yesterday’s Autumn Statement the government announced measures that will, in their words, “bring faster and more reliable broadband for homes and businesses across the UK, boost the next generation of mobile connectivity and keep the UK in the forefront of the development of the Internet of Things.” A sweeping glance at the headline text suggests that the investment of £400m into a Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF) and tax-relief on full fibre infrastructure are a great step forward for the development of Gigabit Britain, but as usual, the devil is in the detail. And it’s the consideration of the detail that has brought us to the opinion that Chancellor Philip Hammond has achieved nothing more than political manoeuvring aimed at satisfying the calls for more investment in the UK’s fibre communications infrastructure.

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Goodbye Investigatory Powers Bill, Hello Investigatory Powers ACT

Posted on Nov 17 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | No Comments

This has been a year of unthinkable events, so it should come as no surprise that last night the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) passed the final hurdle in gaining approval by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. All that’s left for it to become law is to gain Royal Assent – i.e. the Queen has to sign it off.

Entanet has campaigned hard against the IPB and its previous incarnations. Given the volume of data breaches already this year, as a responsible ISP we consider the collection of every citizen’s browsing history to be a profoundly bad idea; it is inevitable that, at best, there will be scope creep among government departments. At worst, your life will fall into the wrong hands.

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