A guide to the recently passed Digital Economy Bill

A guide to coverage of and responses to the passing of the Digital Economy Bill
8 April 2010

The Digital Economy Act received royal assent on 8th April. Controversy over the bill has been widespread, ranging prominent supporters such as the BPI against the Open Rights Group, the internet service provider TalkTalk and a legion of twitter users.

Aside from the low turnout and rushed manner of its passing, topics of contention include clause 8 which permits the blocking of "a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright"; the obligation of internet service provider to provide lists of copyright infringers to the copyright holder; the ability to suspend individual and household internet connections in the case of repeat copyright infringements.

Likewise significant sections of the proposed bill were lost as it passed through the wash-up process at break-neck speed. The proposed expansion of Ofcom from a regulator of television and radio services to a regulator of "media services", including a demand that it promote public service content on the internet, has been dropped, though Channel 4 is now obligated to participate in the making of digital content for online distribution, along with several further obligations on the channel and on channel 3. Below is a selection of coverage of and responses to the passing of the Bill, enjoy!

Read the entire bill on parliament's website

Watch the second reading of the digital economy bill in parliament, 6 April:

videos courtesy of BBC via TheyWorkForYou

See the Lords committee called in at the last minute to discuss the bill after its second reading in parliament, 7 April

video courtesy of Parliament Live

Watch the amendments being debated in parliament, 7 April:

videos courtesy of BBC via TheyWorkForYou


The following opinion pieces on the Bill give some idea of the hostility with which its clauses and the manner of its passing have been received.

Mike Butcher on The Daily Telegraph

James Graham on Comment is Free 

Malcom Corbett on ZDNet

The Guardian have gathered ,a selection of responses to the passing of the bill

The Open Rights Group, at the forefront of the campaign against the bill are now discussing what to do next


Twitter is alive with responses to the Digital Economy Bill, tagged #debill. Follow the conversation below:

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Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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