April 08, 2010 | Jim Killock

What we do next

Stop disconnectionWhat a debacle. Measures to allow disconnection of individuals from the internet, for undefined periods of time, web blocking laws; all with no real scrutiny and limited debate.

A group of Labour rebels – with Liberal Democrat support – put forward a few amendments to try to test the Bill. Within two and a bit hours, the debate was shut down, and the Bill proceeded without dealing with any of the substantive issues.

Is this a defeat? It seems to us, and a lot of bloggers today, that it isn’t. Why? Firstly, this is a huge victory for transparency. Thousands of people watched and commented on what would have, a few years ago, been a quiet, barely public event.

Secondly, we have mobilised a huge movement, that is capable of influencing the election, and showing up politicians over the next month, and beyond. We are organising by constituency to recommend candidates in our forums; why not add your MP?

We will be asking you to:

And, of course, like hundreds of others, join ORG


Comments (27)

  1. Jim Killock:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 03:31 PM

    And also the story above

  2. Antony:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 03:31 PM

    Sony BMG were recently caught out running pirated copies of network management and monitoring software.


    Presumably sourced via P2P

  3. Jac Flynn:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 05:23 PM

    In regards to what technical measures will be being taken by an ISP towards a customer (according to the bill/law something which is to be decided at some future date by OFCOM after consultation) I foresee - and dread - the introduction of Deep Packet Inspection.

    If this is introduced across all ISP's then privacy as we know it will cease to exist as there will be a record - and copies - of everything we see, say, and do on-line.

    Would you consider linking up with an organisation, such as Liberty, to shift the mainstream view away from piracy and onto privacy which will be most affected?

    It's not just mash-ups and unlicensed creativity at stake.

  4. Crosbie Fitch:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    The first thing to do is to put in place support systems to help those who have been disconnected.

    It's not going to be easy for people to get themselves out of a very sticky and potentially expensive situation if they can't access the Internet to research their best course of action (especially if there are no longer any free Wifi points, and one's name appears on a blacklist).

    It may also be helpful to popularise a censorship detection system, i.e. to ensure that censored sites don't disappear without anyone noticing (realising they've been censored as opposed to deliberately withdrawn by their owners).

    There can be a campaign to repeal the #DEBill (at least its disconnection and censorship clauses), and a campaign to replace it with a People's Internet Bill (one based on protecting individuals' natural rights, rather than the commercial privileges of corporations).

  5. Richard:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    I am concerned about the wording apparent copyright infringement, and I think part of the first step against this is to give legal support to any test case that should arise to clarify this term.
    Secondly, I find it unlikely that no one who works in the BPI or big record companies is in full compliance with intellectual property, if we can find any 'apparent copyright infringement' occurring at any of these offices, then turning the provisions back on them would be priceless.

  6. Andrew Robinson:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    At the risk of being party political, which I know the ORG isn't and shouldn't be, I think MPs need to learn that supporting the #DEBill cost them votes. Supporting the campaigns of the 47 MPs who voted against, and parties (mentioning no names *cough*) that are explicitly against the #DEBill can make a real difference.

    All the major parties are falling over themselves to seem 'green' because they are scared of losing votes to the Greens. At this election, we have our only real chance in the next 4 years to prove to them that they also need to be falling over themselves to support Open Rights.

  7. Jim Killock:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    Hi Andrew,

    We aren't party political, but we are political, and yes, I agree, we should identify who is and is not worth voting for; and help people mobilise their own local campaigns. We are doing this on our forums now, if you want to join in :)

  8. Roger Lancefield:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    I think we should all strive to ensure that these measures are applied equally to those who have proposed and supported them. It seems clear that the Bill's supporters believe that its measures will only be applied to their potential customers and not to themselves.

    Having worked with and in the "creative industry" (radio, web), I sincerely doubt that its members will be able to avoid falling foul of the "copying and sharing is evil" mantra. In fact, I doubt most firms will be able to make it through the first 24 hours without infringing.

    Assuming these measures end up being rolled out as planned, we should encourage ISPs to apply equal treatment to the large, rights-holding firms who have supported this undemocratic Bill, and encourage employees within those firms to tell the world the extent of their firm's "illegal" copying.

    As Cory has repeatedly stated, when large entertainment firms are disconnected and forced to do their business by courier and carrier pigeon, we'll see how resolute their support for this ugly bill remains.

  9. f0ul:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    I am fuming over the nonsense last night. It just makes no sense to be talking about a digital britian in one hand while actively cutting the online presence of others on some very dubious grounds with another.
    Obviously, there is a number of hidden agendas at play here, and while our on-line rights are the first thing to suffer, it isn't what the politicians are worried about.
    I would assume its really about the power to be seen to be doing something about a problem that doesn't really exist! (Remember how home taping was killing music? - didn't do a good job, did it?)

    Maybe we should all ensure that we also use the only power we have and ensure none of these MP's get back into power!

    I know that Mark Tami will be aware on the 7th of May that I didn't vote for him!

  10. think you've actually helped lose this one!:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    These are terrible amendments, but in their haste to pursue fictional grievances that catch headlines, such as Open Wi-Fi and disconnections, the Open Rights Group is guilty of incredibly naive tactics, and has helped unleash some really dangerous legislation into the wild.

    (They could take a leaf out of the Stop43 group’s successful campaign. Rather than trying to get their names in the papers as Freedom Fighters, using enviro-scare tactics, the photographers quietly stopped the bad legislation through rational persuasion and did so using fewer resources - and less time.)

  11. Mark Goodge:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    So we lost a battle. But it's a battle we were always going to lose, and at least the election gives us a chance to fight the next battle on our terms. Candidates need to be reminded that the people who are most likely to suffer from the bill are the ones who will decide who gets elected. Ministers can be swayed by lobby groups and vested interests, but it's votes that matter most to individual candidates.

  12. Angela McCallum:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    What a farce this turned out to be; I have always voted Conservative but never again; this debacle has cost the Conservatives eight votes from my family alone never mind my friends who were against this bill & wrote to their MP etc. Currently emailing my Conservative Candidate Wendy Morton for Tynemouth, North East England to inform her that she has eight less supporters today. Will let you the outcome!

  13. Asher Baker:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 01:10 PM

    I agree wholeheartedly with Crosbie Fitch. Last night's display was actually atrocious, I had a conference going, and we were getting more and more outraged at the ignorant idiocy Stephen Timms was spouting. There were hardly any MPs in that room, and those who knew NOTHING about the bill voted with the front benchers. Things are cropping up on the internet now, showing who voted for what, and I am ashamed (though not surprised) that my MP, the useless Harriet Harman, didn't vote. However, my would-be MP of the constituency I was forced to move out of, Simon Hughes, did - and that man has done so much for my family for years, I wish I could vote for him in the next election.

    Yes, this is a defeat for civil liberties, this is a defeat by a group of ignorant and out of touch politicians on the sly. But they tried to keep it completely quiet, and that didn't work - this is a victory for accountability, and with a general election around the corner, let's make our voices heard again, and again, and again.

  14. Paul T:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 01:13 PM

    how do we get into the forums? I cant seem to find a link.

  15. Ralph Pinkerton:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 06:17 PM

    Soon the internet will be an actual 1984. Everywhere will be monitored, etc etc

    The internet needs LESS laws, to be declared its own country which different rules on the internet than in the country of the user.

  16. Shadowfirebird:
    Apr 08, 2010 at 09:02 PM

    Given the truly woeful coverage of this issue in the media, especially on the TV -- I think we need some sort of resource to track how often this new law is used, and for what purposes.

    The "for what purposes" bit is especially important, given the very loose terms of the act.

  17. Peter Every:
    Apr 09, 2010 at 12:27 PM


  18. John Kerr:
    Apr 09, 2010 at 02:42 PM


    You're entertainers!
    You're an actor or a singer or you maybe play guitar
    You're entertainers!
    But you've got some big ideas of who the hell you think you are

    For you would kick us off internet if ever we're accused
    Of taking copies of your work from sites we've never even used
    And you would love to see our innocents and families deprived
    Of their resources and of services that are their human rights

    You are not teachers!
    Not a surgeon nor a doctor nor a fireman nor a cop
    You're entertainers!
    But your sense of self importance has no notion where to stop

    And yet the power you demand's like disconnecting our supply
    Of electricity or air or making water taps run dry
    You would prevent us online shopping you'd disrupt our education
    And our private mail and messages and all communication

    You're entertainers!
    Or you push the pens and count the beans of those who make that claim
    You're entertainers!
    And you're a little bit deranged if you believe you're not to blame

    But just as voters are responsible for all their countries' wars
    So you are every bit as guilty as the suits who fight your cause
    And did you ever stop to think the prosecutions you pursue
    Are all against the very people who contribute most to you

    You're entertainers!
    You're a dancer or a writer or you make computer games
    You're entertainers!
    But it looks like you forgot the very streets from which you came

    Did you seriously think we'd all lie down while you unfurled
    Our basic fundamental rights to interact with all the world
    Well then if copyright infringement disconnects us through the courts
    I'll tell you I can dance and I can sing and you can eat my shorts

    Copyright © 2010 by John M. Kerr
    Posted in protest at the UK's shameful passing of the Digital Economy Bill with inadequate debate
    Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 2.5 Licence
    This means you're free to copy and share the song but not to sell it


  19. Anonymous:
    Apr 09, 2010 at 02:58 PM

    Instead of attacking the government, get the ISPs onside.

    If suddenly Sony Music and other music companies found themselves disconnected for a day it would be a disaster, if it happens with all ISPs on a united front then the music industry would be in trouble.

    One better, disconnect the government completely for a day.

  20. Jim:
    Apr 09, 2010 at 04:05 PM

    Sorry if this is the wrong place but I'm confused by this bill.

    Does this mean I can no longer copy and paste text from a website, or copy a picture.

    These are copyright of the creator are they not.

    Does this mean all websites can be shut down for hosting this material?.

  21. Chilly8:
    Apr 10, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    I have come to the conclusion that the ONLY thing we can do
    about this is to start a campaign to BOYCOTT the London
    Olympics in 2012.

    Becuase this bill goes BEYOND copyright and really DOES
    threaten free speech, not only in Britan, but around the world,
    I call upon those to oppose this OUTRAGE to start a campaign
    to BOYCOTT the 2012 Olympics in London to protest the
    Digital Economy Bill. That will get the attention of the British
    government, REAL FAST.

    Barack Obama has said he is "troubled" by the proposed
    Australian censorship regime. If Obama REALLY cares
    about free speech on the Net, and he should organise a
    BOYCOTT of the 2012 Olympics in London.

    Should those who oppose censoship, in Australia,
    prevail in the next election, I not only call upon them
    to repeal the Australian censorship regime, should it
    pass before the elections, I also call upon Parliament,
    following the upcoming elections in Australia, to
    IMMEDIATELY pass a bill to BOYCOTT the
    2012 Olympics in London.

    We also call upon the Obama Administration
    to have America BOYCOTT the London
    Olympics. If he CARES about free speech on
    the Net, then he will listen to reason and BOYCOTT
    the London Olympics.

    Boycotting the London Olympics is the ONLY
    way we are going to fight this.

    SAVE THE NET!!!!!!

  22. steve:
    Apr 10, 2010 at 06:11 PM

    I aint bothered if my isp informs me of a possible disconection due to any so called copyrite infraction. Put it this way they will not threaten me twice cause as soon as i get a phone call or threating letter i will cancel my ISP service full stop (permanant). I can live without the www. All people need to take same stance.

  23. syscode:
    Apr 10, 2010 at 11:30 PM

    First, I think Crosbie Fitch's point is very apt. It might also be an idea to get some funds together to support legal battles. A bit for the future, but it may come..

    As am new here, I was looking to see what kind of activities and thoughts are bouncing about. I might have missed, and please correct me if I have, but have not seen much pro-active debate and activities ideas.

    Am looking for a debate and activities which do not just react to activities people and organisations do to impose their will on the net - but to expand the range and abilities of freedoms on net. They were never enough..

    Am I looking at the right place..?

  24. Anon:
    Apr 11, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    I hate to be the one to break it to you guys, but they've been watching everything you do online for YEARS, over http/https at least- probably over every other protocol too.

    I used to work for a large UK based ISP, not very long ago the police actually fitted "black boxes" that allowed them remote access to the databases containing all your browsing history.

    Politics and the corporate structure can NOT save the Internet. I hope you will all understand that soon, politicians and corporate bodies are the problem- not the solution.

  25. windows vista iscsi:
    Feb 09, 2011 at 08:50 AM

    So we lost a battle. But it's a battle we were always going to lose, and at least the election gives us a chance to fight the next battle on our terms.

  26. Tina:
    Feb 22, 2011 at 06:59 PM

    We lost the battle, and the war.

  27. Schlage Security Credentials:
    Feb 28, 2011 at 04:03 PM

    Can you really be blocked from the internet like that? What about if you're using Schlage Security Credentials or some other kind of protective software? Is this still in debate? I'd like to contact the candidates if it's still worthwhile.