Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert leads charge to get parts of Digital Economy Act scrapped

Julian Huppert, newly elected Lib Dem MP for Cambridge, has made something of a splash in his first months in Parliament, taking up a number of liberal causes, such as the need for more evidence-based and scientific rigour in government decision-making. The Digital Economy Act is one such cause.

TechEYE.net reports:

Julian Huppert said it was wrong to rush the controversial Act through Parliament before the last election and that the proposed measures warrant more discussion. … The new MP for Cambridge said: “Most of the Act is fine, I just don’t agree with every bit of it – and with this section in particular. It is collective punishment. It shouldn’t identify someone from their IP address. If this section can’t be changed, and made to work, then we shouldn’t have it. It should be scrapped.”

Huppert, who tabled an early day motion entitled Effects of Digital Economy Act 2010 On Use of The Internet shortly after the last general election, has been gathering support from other MPs for the cause. And this group has been organising ways to make vital changes to the Act.

According to Huppert, the key is to have more discussion between everyone affected, including consumers, ISPs and those who hold the rights to copyright. The MP, who has a PhD in biological chemistry, said part of the problem stemmed from the Act being rushed through “in the dying days” of the last parliament.

MPs, who would normally try to learn a bit about a subject before voting on it, had other things on their minds – namely, getting re-elected. And so the Act had too short a debate in the Commons in the middle of an election meaning many MPs still don’t really understand the tech issues.

“These are serious issues,” said Huppert. “The bill put too much into the regulations. Having discussion will be extremely useful. I’d like to get the law changed.”

You can read the article in full here.

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Bridget Fox‘s campaigning efforts to stop the worst aspects of the Bill were recognised with her nomination in the LibDemVoice.org ‘Blog of the Year’ awards (Best use of blogging/social networking/e-campaigning by a Liberal Democrat) for leading the party’s grassroots challenge.

And you can catch up on all the Voice’s DE Bill coverage here.

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9 Comments

  • If only our Lords hadn’t amended the bill to take away the Bis secretary’s power to amend this at a whim – had we known Vince Cable would be Bis secretary by the time this kicks in…

  • The Digital Economy Act will cause untold chaos.
    You only have to look at the recent ACS:Law leak to see the potential for abuse.
    This law needs scrapping.

  • Andrew Wimble 30th Sep '10 - 2:19pm

    One big issue with the idea of imposing sanctions based on IP address is that it will effectively make open WiFi connections illegal. Now for most people. having an encrypted WiFi is probably a good idea but it should not be a legal requirement. In particular how is this going to effect the ever growing number of buisnesses that provide open WiFi for use by their customers.

  • Andrew Suffield 30th Sep '10 - 10:25pm

    I kinda want to move to Cambridge so that I can vote for that guy next time.

  • Christine Headley 30th Sep '10 - 11:26pm

    @Andrew Suffield

    If you moved to Oxford West and Abingdon, we could finish up with two!

  • The problem with moaning about IP based systems is that no one has supplied a more liberal alternative. A more accurate alternative would have to involve far greater intrusion, a web passport perhaps.

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