Posts Tagged ‘Regulation’

How much more can the DEA withstand?

Posted on Mar 28 2011 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on How much more can the DEA withstand?

The controversial Digital Economy Act (DEA) has once again hit the headlines with news that it has been officially delayed until spring 2012 at the earliest. The news will come as no surprise to many within the industry, as the complex Act has been plagued by debate at every stage since its original conception.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

“Since the DEA passed into law there has been a considerable amount of work to do to implement the mass notification system. Secondary legislation setting out how the system will be paid for and how it will work has to be passed by Parliament. Ofcom also has to set up an appeals process” said a spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

The latest delay can be attributed to a number of factors including the ongoing debate over the allocation of costs between rights holders and ISPs (Opinion.enta.net: DEA passes buck to ISPs),  ongoing concerns regarding using IP addresses to ‘identify’ alleged offenders , the latest review of website blocking proposals, the Judicial Review brought by BT and TalkTalk which started this week and of course the problems Ofcom has encountered with its code of practice.

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DEA passes buck to ISPs

Posted on Jan 31 2011 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on DEA passes buck to ISPs

Back in September 2010, the UK Government Department for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sports (DCMS) announced its plans to force ISPs and right holders to share the costs associated with the Digital Economy Act (DEA), which was unsurprisingly met with much hostility from ISPs.  It would now appear the Government has laid out its secondary legislation in parliament, in its continuing bid to tackle online copyright infringement.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

The Digital Economy Act which, let’s remember, was hastily passed back in April 2010 in the pre-election wash-up, poses to tackle unlawful file sharing with a three strikes rule by sending out warning letters and possible suspension from the Internet.  The proposed law will shoulder ISPs with 25% of all costs, from Ofcom’s costs, issuing notification costs, qualifying and initial costs and case fees for the appeals body. Rights holders will take on the remaining 75%.

According to Communication Minister Ed Vaizey, the Digital Economy Act sets out to “protect the creative economy from online copyright infringement, which the industry estimates costs £400m a year”. However, our frustration comes with Vaizey’s further comments where he says these measures are expected to “benefit industry by around £200million a year and as rights holders will be the main beneficiaries, we believe our decision on costs is fair to everyone”. What? Everyone? Unless I’ve misunderstood his statement, there are two parties footing the bill here – the right holders and the ISPs. Yet it’s only the rights holders that benefit, to the tune of an estimated £200million a year. I am so keen to understand what benefits the ISPs are getting in return for shelling out for 25% of the costs. Perhaps Vaizey thinks it’s the satisfaction of knowing we’ve helped make the world a better place. Wake up, it’s getting tougher to succeed in our economy as it is! The last thing ISPs need is to be told is they now have to be penalised for providing access to the Internet, especially at a time when the Government wants ‘the market’ to bring faster access to everyone in the next few years!

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Keeping the Internet safe – What’s the best approach?

Posted on Jan 17 2011 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Keeping the Internet safe – What’s the best approach?

The European Parliament is currently debating a proposed EU directive to prevent the sexual abuse of children and child pornography. One of the main topics of discussion has been the pros and cons of blocking offending websites. Whilst we all agree that this is a very important issue that must be tackled correctly there are many contrasting views over the best approach.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Historically, in the UK at least, ISPs that implement the voluntary IWF filter block reported websites, meaning standard users will be protected from viewing the illegal material. However, the blocks can be circumnavigated quite easily by the most persistent offenders and the illegal content can still be accessed and distributed. MEP Alexander Alvaro (ALDE, DE) has argued that because of this, blocking is not effective.

In response to this debate EuroISPA has announced its own proposals for tackling the issue. Firstly it agrees with MEP Alvaro and suggests that all offending websites should be completely removed rather than blocked. Malcolm Hutty, President of EuroISPA and Head of Public Affairs at Linx, said: “In order to make the Directive on child sexual exploitation as strong as possible, emphasis must be placed on making swift notice and take down of child sexual abuse material focused and effective. Blocking, as an inefficient measure, should be avoided. Law enforcement authorities’ procedures for rapid communication to Internet Hosting Providers of such illegal material must be reviewed and bottlenecks eliminated.”

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DEA – Finally, time for some common sense!

Posted on Nov 11 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on DEA – Finally, time for some common sense!

Since the moment the DEA (Digital Economy Act) was passed, when it was hastily rushed through the ‘wash-up’ prior to the general election earlier this year, Entanet and other opposing bodies have been calling for a review. Yesterday the High Court finally announced that a judicial review has been granted.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

The leaders of the DEA opposition have undoubtedly been BT and TalkTalk who jointly requested this review through the courts, arguing the bill was passed without proper scrutiny. Throughout the process they have been supported by a number of ISPs and wholesale communications providers including Entanet, aswell as organisations such as the Open Rights Group (ORG). Commenting on yesterday’s announcement TalkTalk’s Executive Director, Andrew Heaney, said:

“We are very pleased that the Court has recognised that our concerns about the copyright infringement provisions in the Digital Economy Act should be considered in a full hearing. The Act was rushed through Parliament in the ‘wash-up’ with only 6% of MPs attending the brief debate and has very serious flaws.

The provisions to try to reduce illegal file sharing are unfair, won’t work and will potentially result in millions of innocent customers who have broken no law suffering and having their privacy invaded.

We look forward to the hearing to properly assess whether the Act is legal and justifiable and so ensure that all parties have certainty on the law before proceeding.”

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USC survives spending review but who are we kidding?

Posted on Oct 22 2010 by Darren Farnden | 1 Comment

Earlier this week the much anticipated ‘spending review’ was unveiled and, as previously promised by Chancellor George Osbourne, the highly debated 2Mbps USC (Universal Service Commitment) remains unaffected. The 2Mbps USC was proposed by the previous Labour government initially to provide all UK households with a minimum 2Mbps Internet service by 2012. When the coalition government took power this deadline was extended to 2015 but there were fears that it may be compromised or even scrapped as part of the stringent spending cuts.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Whilst controversially only providing a minimum of 2Mbps, which many within the industry (including Entanet) have argued is far from fast enough to keep up with increasing demands and technological developments, at least it is a start for the ‘not spots’ of the UK. Therefore the industry was keen to see it protected. True to his word, Mr Osbourne appears to have done this. The USC will, as previously suspected, be funded by the remnants of the digital switchover fund and by the BBC license fee, and is forecasted to cost £530million over the next four years. It has also been confirmed that there will be no controversial broadband tax.

Whilst £530million may seem a lot there is ongoing concern that this forecast is wrong, with the previous Labour government expecting costs to reach £2-3billion.

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DEA: The debate continues…

Posted on Aug 05 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on DEA: The debate continues…

In April 2010 the controversial Digital Economy Bill (DEB) was passed through the parliamentary wash-up and hastily implemented into law, much to the annoyance of many ISPs, Internet users and industry bodies. Then in May we saw history made with a new coalition government taking power. We were initially hopeful that the new government would put right the wrongs of the rushed DEA (Digital Economy Act) but have since seen little in the way of progress. Yet despite this lack of government action, over the last three months the industry news has continued to provide a steady stream of DEA related updates. We take a look at what’s been going on and provide you with an update.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

To repeal or not to repeal?

It appears the proposed tackling of copyright infringement is still the main focus of unease within the DEA. At the end of June, Liberal Democrat MP, Julian Huppert, tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) to repeal sections 9 – 18, the sections that cover the issue of illegal copyright infringement. Unfortunately the EDM gained little support and appears to have dropped off the radar.

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Is this the beginning of the end for the Great Aussie Firewall?

Posted on Jun 29 2010 by Elsa Chen | Comments Off on Is this the beginning of the end for the Great Aussie Firewall?

For several years now Stephen Conroy, Australia’s Communications Minister, has been waging war against the evils of the Internet with his proposed net filtering legislation aimed at forcing Australian ISPs to censor the web. As you may expect, he has come up against a significant amount of opposition from ISPs, freedom of speech advocates, the industry, politicians and the like.

Elsa Chen, General Manager

Elsa Chen, General Manager

Possibly most damning of all is the latest report out of Australia which brands the proposed legislation as “politically toxic”. This is not good news for Mr Conroy as he plans to introduce this highly controversial Bill before the next General Election in October.

So what’s wrong with the Great Aussie Firewall?

The ‘Great Aussie Firewall’, as it has been nicknamed, was originally proposed and positioned as a method of tackling child pornography on the Internet and was expected to operate in a similar way to our own IWF watch list, with ISPs blocking access to potentially harmful or offensive sites. Nothing wrong with that you may argue. However, there are two significant differences between the Aussie Firewall and our own IWF list. Firstly, our IWF list is not mandatory or state run and secondly, the scope of the Australian filter is far more wide reaching. This is the real concern for many opposing the Bill. The Australian filter is based on the RC Content (Refused Classification) list which is compiled by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Opponents to the proposed Bill state that only one third of the list is actually made up of child abuse content. The rest, according to the ACMA, includes bestiality, sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act. However its opponents insist that the list extends beyond these.

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A promising start for the new secretary of state

Posted on Jun 10 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on A promising start for the new secretary of state

Jeremy Hunt, The Secretary of State for Culture, the Olympics Media and Sport has announced the Government’s plans regarding delivering superfast broadband to the UK. In his first speech on the subject he said: “Singapore wants universal access to superfast broadband by 2012, by which time Korea plans to have provided one million homes with 1 gigabit per second connections – a speed which can download a two hour film in just 12 seconds.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

But in this country, the legacy was – in the same timescale – a commitment to a paltry 2Mbps universal connection. Necessary, of course, but pitifully un-ambitious compared to a Korean goal 500 times faster.

It is a scandal that nearly 3 million households in this country still cannot access 2Mbps broadband speeds, and less than 1% of the country is able to access the internet using modern fibre optic technology – compared to an OECD average of around 10%.”

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Out with the old and in with the new

Posted on May 20 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Out with the old and in with the new

What does the new coalition government have in store for the Internet industry?

Well this month has seen history made with the formation of our new coalition government. As David Cameron and Nick Clegg start out on their new partnership we take a look at each party’s previous stance on several topical industry issues and suggest how we think the new coalition government will go about tackling them.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Reviewing the DEA

Let’s start with one of the industry’s biggest issues. The DEA (Digital Economy Act) has been one of the most talked about topics with debate starting right back at its conception, but the most infuriating thing of all about the DEB was the ridiculous way in which this controversial Bill was rushed through the wash-up and into law.

During the election campaign the Liberal Democrat’s Nick Clegg stated that he believed this was a “stitch-up”. He said “We did our best to prevent the Digital Economy Bill being rushed through at the last moment. It badly needed more debate and amendment, and we are extremely worried that it will now lead to completely innocent people having their Internet connections cut off. It was far too heavily weighted in favour of the big corporations and those who are worried about too much information becoming available. It badly needs to be repealed, and the issues revisited.”

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Secrecy shroud lifted on Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

Posted on Apr 26 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Secrecy shroud lifted on Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

The controversial secrecy surrounding the ACTA (Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) discussions has finally been cleared as last week the EU published working text from the last round of discussions held in Wellington, New Zealand earlier this month.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Previously the Governments involved have been severely criticised for the secretive manner in which the talks have been held and their refusal to publish any details. After two years they have finally backed down and a working text document has been released. We expressed our concerns regarding this issue in our previous opinion article:

The working text document starts by positioning the purpose of the talks stating “The ACTA initiative aims to establish international standards for enforcing intellectual property rights in order to fight more efficiently the growing problem of counterfeiting and piracy.”

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