Liberty's briefing on Britain's Digital Economy Bill

Sarah sez, "UK human rights campaign group Liberty lobby the British government on a range of issues which have implications for human rights and civil liberties. Liberty have produced a detailed briefing on the controversial copyright infringement proposals in the Digital Economy Bill from a human rights perspective."
13. In creating such an order-making power the Government is proposing that in dealing with suspected copyright infringement (or indeed as we outline below in dealing with any particular type of internet use) ordinary criminal or civil procedures will be bypassed replaced instead with an administrative process laden with executive involvement and devoid in the first instance of due process safeguards. This proposal continues two disturbing trends enthusiastically adopted by this Government over recent years. The first is the attempt to sidestep traditional criminal or civil law standards and procedures in favour of administrative systems controlled by the executive which undermine rights and erode procedural fairness. At its very worst this corrosive model has allowed for indefinite house arrest for those suspected of involvement in terrorism under the control order regime. The second trend is the penchant for leaving that which should properly be dealt with on the face of primary legislation to secondary legislation in the form of regulations or Orders which do not attract sufficient levels of parliamentary scrutiny.

14. The sanction proposed under model 2 is severe. The explanatory notes state that orders by the Secretary of State under clause 11 "would require ISPs to take measures to limit internet access to certain subscribers" and "would be likely to include bandwith capping or shaping that would make it difficult for subscribers to continue file-sharing but other measures may also be considered. If appropriate temporary suspension of broadband connections could be considered". These technical measures implemented at the Secretary of State's behest may therefore include disconnection.

Digital Economy Bill Briefing, Second Reading, Lords (PDF) (Thanks, Sarah!)