Posts Tagged ‘Regulation’

Election 2010 – Drawing the broadband battle lines

Posted on Apr 19 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Election 2010 – Drawing the broadband battle lines

It’s election time and at the moment you can’t turn on the TV, read a newspaper or listen to the radio without being reminded of that fact. Last week saw the launch of several political parties’ election manifestos and whilst the majority of them (notably not the Pirate Party UK) cover a wide range of topical issues we have focussed our investigation on what each party has to say about Digital Britain and the Internet industry. Here is what we found:

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

In the red corner: The Incumbents – Labour

Let’s start with the incumbents, Labour. In the past they have been very vocal about their plans for a Digital Britain and their aims to make the UK a world leader in this area. Only last week they controversially rushed through the Digital Economy Bill, now Act (Entanet Opinion: Digital Economy Bill: The end is nigh…). So what are their plans regarding the Internet and Digital Britain if they are re-elected?

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Poll:What do you think about Google’s withdrawal from China?

Posted on Apr 13 2010 by Gemma Dickinson | Comments Off on Poll:What do you think about Google’s withdrawal from China?

We recently published an article discussing Google’s withdrawal from China (Entanet Opinion:  Google flees Great Firewall of China) and the impact this has on the Internet industry, Google and what it means for other countries currently implementing censorship policies. Now we would like to find out what you think about this issue and have published a new poll to do just that.

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Digital Economy Bill: The end is nigh…

Posted on Apr 09 2010 by Darren Farnden | 4 Comments

So, the Digital Economy Bill has passed its final stage before Royal Assent and is now, for all intents and purposes, going to be made law – much to the dismay of many ISPs and Internet entities including Google and ISPA.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

We think it’s laughable that the Bill has been passed through the House of Commons with such speed. After three readings in the House of Lords without prior consultation with those in the Internet access industry and many ill-considered amendments, its passage through the House of Commons has seemingly been accelerated to light speed. The correct political term I believe is ‘pre-election wash up’. This basically means that, whilst we and others have only been able to debate this controversial Bill indirectly, the government has been able to get it passed as quickly as possible before the election. As both of the major political parties agreed on the majority of the clauses within the Bill, they’ve managed to do it easily and with little proper debate, consideration or collaboration with industry.

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Google flees Great Firewall of China

Posted on Apr 06 2010 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Google flees Great Firewall of China

Back in December 2009 Google and a number of other high profile companies were the target of several cyber attacks which were allegedly traced back to the Chinese government. In Google’s case the hackers appeared to be after the Gmail account details of a number of human rights advocates. We started to cover this story in January when Google announced that it was considering withdrawing its Google.cn operations following the attacks.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

On its company blog, Google stated “We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results. At the time we made clear that “we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China.”

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Update: Net neutrality – Is legislation necessary?

Posted on Mar 30 2010 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Update: Net neutrality – Is legislation necessary?

According to the FCC the answer is yes!

Back in November 2009 we covered the FCC’s (Federal Communications Commission) plans to introduce legislation to enforce net neutrality – the theory that all Internet users and traffic should be treated equally and without bias.

Neil Watson, Head of Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Operations

The proposals had caused an uproar amongst ISPs in the US as they required network operators to be more transparent about the management of their networks and stopped them from blocking or slowing down certain types of legal traffic e.g. P2P. Obviously the ISPs were far from happy about this and argued that they had invested heavily in the development of their networks only to have their managerial power removed.

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Scoring goals with broadband?

Posted on Mar 24 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Scoring goals with broadband?

In the run-up to the General Election expected this May, the main parties seem determined to make broadband a political football in an effort to win over supporters. This is typical electioneering of course and, in the end, it’ll be down to industry to actually make things happen in the ‘real world’. In true political fashion the winning party will then blame industry when its over-ambitious deadlines are missed, while claiming the credit for every future milestone it thinks industry should be on target to achieve.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

We only have to review progress on the Digital Economy Bill (DEB) though to see that the parties understand little about the moral and practical steps involved in managing Internet access for UK residents and businesses. Both the Labour and Conservative parties’ plans and promises are at best badly thought-out and almost certainly won’t be achieved without the constructive and experienced contribution of the industry bodies and service providers (large and small) that make the UK Internet access market tick.

Let’s look at their claims on broadband. Gordon Brown has said that he wants to make Britain “the world leader in the digital economy” by 2020 and ensure that all homes in the UK, especially those in rural areas, have access to ‘super-fast’ broadband. At this early stage some obvious questions go unanswered. What’s his deadline for delivering ‘super fast’ broadband to absolutely everyone? What actually constitutes ‘super fast’ broadband in his mind? How is the cost going to be covered? Of course as the potential final whistle for Labour looms, this hasty kick from the sidelines is to be expected given the Conservatives’ mindless counter-attack claim that they’ll deliver “100Mbps broadband across most [what does ‘most’ mean?] of the population” by 2017 if/when they take the trophy to No.10.

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Internet industry unites to condemn amendment 120A

Posted on Mar 16 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Internet industry unites to condemn amendment 120A

If there is one thing the Digital Economy Bill has successfully created so far, its controversy. The Bill is still going through the reading stages of the House of Lords and yet every week it appears to spark a new industry argument. The latest being the addition of amendment 120A, which has united the Internet industry in its condemnation.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Lord Clement-Jones and Lord Razzall proposed the amendment as an alternative to clause 17, which originally awarded substantial powers to the Secretary of State, a fundamental area of concern for many within the industry.  We covered the concerns in detail in our earlier opinion article – Mandelson – New master of the digital economy? (Entanet Opinion: Mandelson – New master of the digital economy?). However the Lords’ proposed solution has sparked an equal amount of furious debate.

Amendment 120A could force ISPs to block access to websites where “a substantial proportion of the content accessible at or via each specified online location infringes copyright.” One of the main concerns is that this amendment provides the rights holders with an unfair bias in such cases. Now surprise, surprise we discover the proposal by the Lords was in fact sourced from the BPI (British Phonographic Industry)!

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Poll: Do you think the proposed 50p broadband tax is…?

Posted on Mar 08 2010 by Gemma Dickinson | Comments Off on Poll: Do you think the proposed 50p broadband tax is…?

The government’s proposed 50p broadband tax is already proving to be one of the many contraversial issues within the Digital Economy Bill and we would like to know what you think about it.

So we’ve added a new poll to find out. Let us know your thoughts by casting your vote.

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ACTA secrecy breeds suspicion

Posted on Mar 02 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on ACTA secrecy breeds suspicion

Meddling Mandelson faces furore from MPs

The secrecy surrounding the ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) talks is causing fury amongst MPs across political parties. The Government (Lord Mandelson and David Lammy) has refused to place the documents regarding the ACTA talks in the House of Commons Library because of other countries requests for secrecy, much to the annoyance of the UK MPs.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

This is particularly important because whilst Mandelson and Lammy are involved in the secret ACTA talks they are also negotiating the Digital Economy Bill’s entry into UK law. If the leaked details of the ACTA talks are to be believed these new agreements will have a significant impact on the DEB which is already causing large amounts of controversy.

So what is the ACTA?

The ACTA is a proposed trade agreement between participating countries to establish international standards on protecting intellectual property from copyright infringement. The UK is joined in the talks by the US, Japan, the EC, Australia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea and several others.

David Lammy defends the government’s secrecy by explaining how publicising details of the ACTA discussions could damage the UK’s relations with the rest of the involved nations, stating “this would harm our ability to protect, promote and secure an outcome in the UK’s interest, and the premature release of documents that are not agreed and not fully developed may also have a negative effect on the government’s reputation.”

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Open Rights Group slams the Digital Economy Bill

Posted on Feb 17 2010 by Guest | 1 Comment

Entanet has invited guest blogger Jim Killock from the Open Rights Group (ORG) to give his views on the Digital Economy Bill (DEB). Here he explains why he belives the Bill is fundamentally flawed and advises how you can change it before it makes law. We welcome his comments and encourage you to add to the debate.

Jim Killock, Executive Director, ORG

Jim Killock, Executive Director, ORG

It’s time to stand up against the DEB

The Digital Economy Bill is bad. But exactly how bad, and for who, is only now being properly debated. Those following the Bill closely have known for some time that unacceptable shortcuts are being proposed to detect people accused of illicit file sharing.

Many of you will also be very clear in your own mind that it’s not possible in most cases to equate a customer’s IP address with an individual who may have infringed, yet this is exactly the approach the Digital Economy Bill tries to take. The result is that current government plans will target anyone with a computer with more than one user, or a network.

Beyond households it will, as a result, also impose substantial costs on hotels, restaurants, cafes and eateries who offer free Internet access to their customers – costs which are likely to severely disrupt their business. The Federation of Small Businesses and the British Hoteliers Association are among those raising these concerns.

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