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!)