UK Digital Economy Bill Section 124H Would Give Ability To Silently Censor Websites

from the just-the-sort-of-power-the-government-should-have dept

There have been lots of complaints about Peter Mandelson's "Digital Economy Bill" in the UK, which, beyond pushing a three strikes policy on the UK, would also grant Mandelson (or whomever he or future Business Secretaries deputize) the power to automatically change copyright law at will with no oversight. Scary enough, but it gets worse. As everyone's been focused on these clauses, they may have missed another scary one. Brian points out that another section, Section 124H, would also grant the Secretary of State the power to silently block access to any websites he dislikes. Yes, it would allow the Secretary of State to create a no-visit list that ISPs would have to block. And there would be no oversight (again). Oh, and it's not just websites. The order could be used for something like "block all BitTorrent" traffic. Seems like a bit much, doesn't it?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Robert Ring (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:44pm

    The U.K. It's the new China!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:44pm

    --The Scene--

    I can see it all now:

    Secretary of State's little girl: "Daddy, is Christina Ricci prettier than me?"

    Secretary of State (to little girl): "Why, no dear. Of course not."

    Secretary of State (on cell phone): "Never again will the people of England see or hear anything about Christina Ricci on the internet. Make it so."

    Ah, what times those will be.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Murdoch's #37 fan, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 3:04pm

    Actually, it cannot be done silently, because the Secretary of State has to "direct OFCOM", and under the bill, OFCOM is required to report to the houses (parliament and the lords). So while the Secretary of State doesn't appear to be obligated to report, OFCOM is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 3:14pm

    You know, when I read 1984 about five years ago, I thought it was overrated - because in my opinion it was somewhat exaggerated and oversimplified.

    Hmm.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Fentex, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 4:34pm

      Re: 1984

      If you thought 1984 was a simple 'What If' story you might think it over-rated, because like Hamlet it's full of cliches and now old ideas.

      But an important point to think about is the circumstances of it's authoring. George Orwell worked as a censor in Britain in WW2 after becoming disillusiioned with idealists having fought in the Spanish civil war.

      1984 isn't a 'wHat If?' story - in it George Orwell is asking how would can you know it isn't the world you live in?

      Aldous Huxley wrote 'Brave New World' in which he thought peoples downfall would be a listless distracted interest in the world fed by cheap entertainment and mind numbing trivia while George Orwell thought people are brutalised by those with a will to power.

      Today you see both things happening at once.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 7:27am

        Re: Re: 1984

        Oh I get it know - maybe my post wasn't clear. I'm trying to say I've come to realize it's value in a way I didn't fully understand at first (and yes, a big part of that had to do with the fact that the ideas did not feel as new or original outside the proper time and context - but I first read 1984 when I was like 15 or something. Now I can make the right contextual adjustments in my mind.)

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 3:35pm

    Waiting for the british govt to start using words like doublethink...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 3:46pm

      Re:

      you mean like 'graduated response'?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 4:29pm

      Re:

      Waiting for the british govt to start using words like doublethink...

      Like naming an anti-competitive, monopolistic, anti-economy bill "Digital Economy Bill"?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Rasmus, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 4:56pm

      Re:

      Me too, and past that they will start blaming every new measure on the importance to protect society from terrorists and pedophiles...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Palmyra (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 4:43pm

    Now please tell me again why the Brits do not need a written Constitution?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Chuck (profile), Dec 20th, 2009 @ 7:33am

      Re:

      THE QUEEN WILL SAVE US!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Dave M, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 4:34am

      Re: Why we do not need a written constitution

      Because we already have the basic liberties required in a free state - granted by Magna Carta, Bill of rights and Habeus Corpus (and English Common law which is not written but developed by judicial precedence).

      The last thing we need is for a modern day - self serving trickster bunch of politicians telling us what THEY THINK we should have as a right !

      The only thing I want from them is the ability to live my life without fear of any other person doing me harm or restriction by their actions - and there is not one currently serving member of parliament I could trust to 'grant' me this right ! Yet it is the only one that matters and is the basis of 'common law' !

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Dave, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 8:34pm

    I'll just send Mandy the bill for missed revenue... But seriously, I go with Dan Bull on this one, if this passes, it will mean certain revolution. It's already pretty heated based on other issues, now this... I just hope my condo doesn't get burnt down lmfao... Send Mandy the bill for that one too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Dave M, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 5:12am

      Restricting internet access

      But some clever spark will just design a way around the ban ! The TOR network is already private, encrypted and secure - unfortunately it is not really up to the performance required in the modern internet age.

      A new type of 'torrent' software - with port switching, ip ghosting/switching, multi server anonymous redirectioning and high level encryption - will probably get them pulling their hair out within 6 months of any downloading site bans. For downloaders - a subscription of a tenner a month would be well worth the 'rip off' savings i.e. The cost of a single CD and the investment to counter it would be beyond any government decree to ISPs ability to afford ! Versus a highly technical and able 'free' workforce constantly upgrading and improving said developement.

      Thing is - Mandlesnake does not have a clue about the technology (also underestimates the ability of people who understand the technology and believe in the freedom of the internet) and just wants to ingratiate his mates in the entertainments industry where he thinks he belongs 'a star' - legend in his own mind ! Media personality etc etc. Maybe a backhander or two in the old swiss bank account !

      He also is in the 'priviliged elite' class who will be unlikely to suffer from the misuse of the law to shut down free speech should someone disreputable and politically disgusting get into a prominant political position - who is ready to abuse the law for their own purposes - Unless he already has ???!!!

      What he hasn't considered is that the 'media industry' and their old 'rip off' business model is broken - they need a new one because if not the internet - then media phones and bluetooth will circumvent any (temporary) restrictions on downloading copyrighted material ! If I am wrong with this point - then the act is purely and simply a method of exercising government control over the internet ! Which is malicious and bitchy in the extreme - now who does this reputation fit ?

      That said - I do not advocate piracy and have no interest in getting my hands on the so called entertainment which they seem to hold so dear ! Rather my interest is in mental enrichment and freedon to express opinions on the internet without having some worthless politician deciding that I can or cannot have access to that information/web site - because he/she does not like it !

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Jake, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 3:02am

    You know the sad part? I can still just barely remember the days when Labour were considered centre-left.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This