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Major ISPs Challenge UK's Digital Economy Act 107

Posted by timothy
from the it's-all-an-act-isn't-it? dept.
Techmeology writes "TalkTalk and BT, two of the UK's largest ISPs, seek to legally challenge the UK's Digital Economy Act, which was rushed through parliament during its last days prior to the election. TalkTalk and BT argue that the DEA infringes human rights and places large ISPs (with over 400,000 customers) at a disadvantage. They also believe the DEA could conflict with existing European Legislation such as the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive, and the E-Commerce Directive — the latter stating that ISPs are not responsible for the actions of their customers. The Act, which saw twenty thousand letters sent to MPs in protest, contains measures to see websites suspected of distributing illegal material blocked, and Internet users disconnected or reported to copyright holders."
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Major ISPs Challenge UK's Digital Economy Act

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 09, 2010 @05:04AM (#32848608)

    BT doing something right for a change? Wonders will never cease!

    • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Friday July 09, 2010 @05:12AM (#32848636)
      This is just code to have the Act applied to small ISP's as well as large, and nothing to do with repealing the act altogether like it sounds. It also scores brownie points for the public image of these big ISP's. Cat is out of the bag now, the chances that this Digital Economy Act will be repealed now are next to none - and I have a hard job believing that BT is really against this Act NOW, after it has been passed. If they were really against they would have kicked up a row well before this.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 09, 2010 @06:15AM (#32848850)

        This is just code to have the Act applied to small ISP's as well as large, and nothing to do with repealing the act altogether like it sounds

        Nope, not true. The act imposes a financial overhead on all ISPs that it covers. BT wants it repealed, because it will cost them money. The public want it repealed because it's a terrible piece of legislation. Their motives aren't the same as ours, but their objective is the same. Oh, and the major ISPs, including BT, did all object to this act before it was passed - they were ignored.

        The current government has promised to repeal stupid laws, and this is one that's getting a lot of votes on their site for suggesting laws to repeal.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mdwh2 (535323)

          The current government has promised to repeal stupid laws, and this is one that's getting a lot of votes on their site for suggesting laws to repeal.

          For anyone interested, it's at http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/repealing-unnecessary-laws/digital-economy-act [hmg.gov.uk] .

          Currently on the top 5 of most commented, with one of the highest ratings at 4.9, with 1304 votes.

          • by jez9999 (618189)

            Cool. Maybe it'll get as much attention from those at the top as this [number10.gov.uk].

      • by Xest (935314)

        Saying it's code implies that they're intending that it just be applied to small ISPs and support the bill really, but I think that's bollocks.

        Whilst I agree that might be the net effect, that the bill will just end up getting applied to small ISPs, I do believe that they are interested in seeing it repealed or struck down simply because even as a large ISP this does add extra burden and costs on them, and does require them to be complicit in allowing court action to be threatened against many innocent cust

      • by spamuell (1208984) on Friday July 09, 2010 @07:15AM (#32849064)

        If they were really against they would have kicked up a row well before this.

        Um, they did: For example there was this letter letter [ft.com] to the Financial Times on March 9th 2010 criticising the Digital Economy Bill, which says:

        Put simply, blocking access as envisaged by this clause would both widely disrupt the internet in the UK and elsewhere and threaten freedom of speech and the open internet, without reducing copyright infringement as intended.

        Oh, the signatories include the chairman of Talk Talk and the CEO of BT. A handy tip: if you're going to talk rubbish on the internet, make sure there isn't a public letter retrievable in about 2 seconds of googling which unambiguously demonstrates you have no idea what you're talking about.

      • by julesh (229690)

        This is just code to have the Act applied to small ISP's as well as large, and nothing to do with repealing the act altogether like it sounds.

        Not really, no. At least one of the grounds for the complaint, that the law is incompatible with the EU's regulations that require ISPs to be considered as mere carriers of data and not responsible for their users' actions, would result in at least parts of the law being struck off the books entirely if the courts held in their favour.

    • by tehcyder (746570) on Friday July 09, 2010 @05:19AM (#32848664) Journal
      What's the difference between BT and BP?

      One of them is number one most hated company in the UK. And the other one is something to do with oil.

      • BT have actually gotten much better in the past few years. Last time I had to ring them up for customer service I only waited a minute or so, and got straight to someone who knew my case and we got my problem resolved in minutes.
        Thats more than I can say for most businesses in the UK. Now, if only I could get broadband at higher than 1mbps....
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Canazza (1428553)

          Virgin have better tech, but utterly shash customer service. Not only are they outsourced to India and about 50% of the time you speak to someone uninteligible, they're also not allowed to deviate from a set script, so when you have a complex problem you just have to keep shouting at them until they pass you to someone who can actually help you.
          Compound this with my tech-unsavvy gran who has a terrible time when something unusual pops up on her screen (ie, Films on demand selection screen showing over BBC1)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by TheRaven64 (641858)
            There are two things that really irritate me about Virgin's support:

            First, it's an 0845 number. If you don't have a landline, this gets expensive - it's 10p/minute from most mobiles, and they get paid for keeping you on hold so there is absolutely no incentive for them as a company to deal with you promptly.

            Secondly, any call to them will invariably require you to be transferred to several different departments. Each will ask you the same set of security questions. Quite why they can't set an 'alread

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              I got a free landline with my broadband. DIdnt even want it. I picked up a £5 phone from argos, and now i just use it to phone Virgin (150, free) and other 08 numbers, also free.
            • I've had to call virgin 4 times in the 6 years I've had their cable/tv bundle. Only once did i hit the idiot wall (trying to raise an alert about a line fault, but the zombie on the line was convinced both my router and my tv box had simultaneously died!). All the other times I've called, service has been good and they seem to have stepped things up recently too - i called last week at peak time (6pm) - got through to a Welsh chap in a minute, he tested my box, and booked an engineer for the next working d
            • by mdwh2 (535323)

              There were two companies who seemed to have problems with me telling them I'd moved house.

              One was Virgin Media, who had come round to my new house to install it, and started sending out paper bills (despite me being on the e-bills), and charging me for that - and sent the paper bills to the old address. Oh, and they disabled my email account and it took a week to get them to fix it.

              (The other company, who seemed unable to accept my new address even after telling them, was my bank, who I have my mortgage wit

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Secondly, any call to them will invariably require you to be transferred to several different departments. Each will ask you the same set of security questions. Quite why they can't set an 'already authenticated' flag when transferring you internally, I have no idea, but it wastes about a minute for each person you talk to. You then have to restate the reason for your call, because they don't seem to communicate.

              I can't remember the last time I called someone at a company with more than a handful of people and I didn't have to authenticate myself to each party. And since the authentication consists of name, address, and phone number, it's not just annoying, it's entirely useless as a security measure.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by mdwh2 (535323)

            Not only are they outsourced to India

            Although to be fair, this seems more to extend their hours. I've still had UK people AFAICT[*] when phoning during office hours in the week, but it seems to be outsourced to India at the weekends. The point being, before they did this, they were only open during office hours in the week anyway. (And at least the days of waiting half an hour in a phone queue, as used to happen when they were NTL, are gone.)

            I once phoned in the evening and got someone with an American acc

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I just contact their twitter team @BTCare [twitter.com]. They deal with any problems in minutes, and for the three problems I have had in the last month, they called me within 10 minutes, called the following morning to ask if it has been fixed. I once moaned on Twitter that I wanted to leave BT Broadband, they called me and gave me a mac code.

          • by IBBoard (1128019)

            I once moaned on Twitter that I wanted to leave BT Broadband, they called me and gave me a mac code.

            That's where I find it a bit creepy. I complained about eBuyer once on Twitter (because of a delay and mixed information) and eBuyer started following me, and a company who have written software with the same name as eBuyer's internal ticketing system asked if they could help with my problem. From big companies then I find that following and watching of people a bit odd.

            • BT managed to work out where I lived with my Twitter name, the BT account is in somebody else's name. How they put the two together is beyond me.

        • by Geeky (90998)

          They couldn't get much worse. I switched from BT after a long running problem and support that was stupid beyond belief.

          First call, first question: "are you calling from the line you want to report the fault on?".
          Me: "Yes".
          Support: "Let me run a line test"... long pause... "oh, I can't do that it appears that your line is in use"

          Appears? No shit Sherlock, I've just told you I'm using it to speak to you.

          I then had an engineer come out, confirm the problem was at the exchange and go away telling me it would g

          • Hmm. When i phoned up BT it went straight to an engineer in England, and my matter was dealt with in 10 mins. Virgin on the other hand, are useless unless you got a number straight to an engineer. I phoned up countless times to complain about the quality of my line (I was getting the download speed, 20mbps, but pings were 500+ and upload was attrocious, so gaming was impossible). They simply asked "Are you getting your 20mbps" I said yes, but that doesnt help me at all, i cant play games because line attenu
          • Oh don't get me started on Poop-ex!

            They were my first ISP for broadband, after BT Internet kicked me off of "unlimited" dialup for "overuse". No matter, 512k ADSL1 > 56k dialup any day, especially when I can browse 24/7 and not tie up the phone line.

            Anyway, things were fine for a couple of years -- there were a few oddities (IIRC you couldn't choose your own username or change the password on your account, so if the password got hacked you were precisely fscked) but nothing that stopped the service being

    • Yes, but you need to be clear on *WHY* they're doing this - this is not to stick up for consumers but because of the additional cost of providing equipment & staff to do more detailed monitoring of their subscribers.

      There are purely financial reasons behind this, albeit it's ultimately in our interests.

    • by sa1lnr (669048) on Friday July 09, 2010 @05:36AM (#32848720)

      BT is concerned about customers privacy?

      They thought SFA about it when they conducted the secret Phorm trials on tens of thousands of their customers.

      • by julesh (229690)

        BT is concerned about customers privacy?

        No. BT is concerned that invading their customers privacy with no potential profit from doing so is likely to be expensive. They're also concerned that limiting their customers' access to the service they've paid for will cause their customers to move to other ISPs, thus costing them still more money.

        But who cares what's motivating them to do this? They're on our side, for once.

    • by pablo_max (626328)

      Make no mistake, it has nothing to do with concerns for the customers.
      This is about money. It would take massive resources for an ISP to monitor what all the users are up to. On top that of that, it would offer a thick layer of liability to the ISP if and when they miss a customers illegal actions. This, no doubt would result is legal actions being taken against the ISP.
      Then of course there is legal action from the customer with the ISP has wrong concluded an illegal action has taken place on the part of th

    • by shnull (1359843)
      and EU membership quoted for leverage on human rights,that's two in one breath
  • Free Wi-Fi illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Manip (656104) on Friday July 09, 2010 @05:13AM (#32848640)

    One of the bigger problems with this act that few discuss is that it indirectly makes it illegal to operate a free Wi-Fi service. At the very least you would need to register with the Wi-Fi provider before you could use their service so they can pass on infringement notices to you otherwise they might be left holding the torch when the lawsuit hits.

    • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Friday July 09, 2010 @05:19AM (#32848662)
      Exactly! That is a preemptive strike on their part, because in a few short years the technology will be viable for normal people to use a network of wireless nodes that completely bypass normal ISP's. Think wireless P2P "phones" [google.com] relaying messages with only a few nodes connected to the wider internet at any one time etc, all conveniently outlawed now before they take hold and cut into the ISP/telco's market.
      • by JockTroll (996521)

        What did you expect? For the first time in human history technological progress will be effectively shaped and limited by the concerted actions of big corporate interests and a political power scared of the populace they pretend to serve. Inventors and innovators will be fined or jailed, and private entities will exert a hydraulic tyranny on information technology which will last generations.

        In order to avoid this, direct action must be taken.

        • by 6031769 (829845) on Friday July 09, 2010 @05:59AM (#32848804) Homepage Journal

          For the first time in human history technological progress will be effectively shaped and limited by the concerted actions of big corporate interests and a political power scared of the populace they pretend to serve.

          First time? Dude, where have you been for the last 10,000 years?

          • by JockTroll (996521)

            It's the first time they will actually succeed. Technological progress has been the big blunt instrument that defeated most mass-control schemes over the last centuries, and contrarily to the naive opinion of most loserboys, the Middle Ages saw some great advancements. All attempts to control and regulate communication has been sooner or later defeated by technology, and even national bans were overridden by simply moving somewhere else.

            Now, this is not the case anymore: there is one world, which is becomin

            • by mrrudge (1120279)
              We're in a period of history marked by the fastest, most far reaching technical innovation.
              We're in a period of history marked by an all time low in violence, and all time high in overall human rights ?

              And you want to use 'force' to stop 'the man' from stopping technical innovation ?

              Erm, what ?
  • ... but ultimately, it needs to be politicians that strike this Act down. Hopefully, this kind of sustained public pressure against the act can give Nick Clegg some firepower to try and revoke the Act at some point this parliament.

    • Re:This is good... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by captainpanic (1173915) on Friday July 09, 2010 @05:50AM (#32848770)

      Trouble is that worldwide, politicians are relatively old people who know absolutely nothing about computers, the internet and whatever. They are often too old to have grown up with it. They have no time to learn about this new technology. They are one of the few people who do nearly all their talking and negotiating face-to-face. They still use paper copies of everything they do.

      So, I don't think it's surprising that the laws regarding the digital world completely suck and are nearly 100% dictated by the large industry and companies, and are in no way protecting the general public.

      Things may change - I just hope that it's not too late.

      And therefore, I cheer at any delay - a delay is a victory, because the longer we wait, the bigger the chance that our politicians actually understand the matter at hand.

      • Except that Nick Clegg is relatively young, experienced in the ways of Europe, and heads a minority party which is not governed by any corporate interests. He is also in charge of a commission to find and eliminate pointless laws from the Statute Book. The Lib Dems are open to arguments about protecting the interests of small businesses and the individual, and have a good campaigning record on the subject. Therefore, rather than get despondent, lobby your MP now, contribute to the website UK Government Your [hmg.gov.uk]
      • Re:This is good... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by digitig (1056110) on Friday July 09, 2010 @07:50AM (#32849192)

        Trouble is that worldwide, politicians are relatively old people who know absolutely nothing about computers, the internet and whatever. They are often too old to have grown up with it.

        That argument is getting old, too. I'm older than our Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, and have been working with computers since my youth and have been online (via bulletin boards) since my college days. These things go back longer than the young guns realise, and if politicians don't understand them then there has to be another reason.

        • Yes, and that reason likely starts with "C" and ends with "ampaign contributions".
        • by Alioth (221270)

          Maybe so, but when you were a lad, hardly *anyone* did computers, you had to be seriously geeky to be online. Being online only became ubiquitous around the year 2000.

          I strongly doubt either the Prime Minister nor Deputy Prime Minister were online much before 2000, and even then, not in a pervasive manner. Just because you were in 1985, it doesn't mean everyone else was too (was even 0.1% of the population online in 1985?). For the vast majority of the population, it's only people who are kids now who actua

          • by digitig (1056110)

            Maybe so, but when you were a lad, hardly *anyone* did computers, you had to be seriously geeky to be online.

            True enough: I guess that's why I'm here. But:

            Being online only became ubiquitous around the year 2000.

            I strongly doubt either the Prime Minister nor Deputy Prime Minister were online much before 2000, and even then, not in a pervasive manner.

            I know that the Liberal Democrats were using online conferencing as far back as the early 90s, possibly even as far back as the late 80s, using a CoSy based system. The DPM at least is quite likely to have been online well before 2000.

            For the vast majority of the population, it's only people who are kids now who actually grew up with it being pervasively around them. 99.9% of the people over about 30 are "digital immigrants" by and large.

            But 30 years is a decent enough time for them to have become naturalised citizens.

        • by julesh (229690)

          That argument is getting old, too. I'm older than our Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, and have been working with computers since my youth and have been online (via bulletin boards) since my college days. These things go back longer than the young guns realise, and if politicians don't understand them then there has to be another reason.

          There are plenty of politicians who do understand. The only MP I've met on a personal level used to run an ecommerce company, and writes web apps in JSP in his spa

      • by mpe (36238)
        Trouble is that worldwide, politicians are relatively old people who know absolutely nothing about computers, the internet and whatever. They are often too old to have grown up with it.

        The issue isn't about "age" plenty of "old" people use all sorts of technology. I suspect the real issue is that too many politicians lack (current) experience of the world outside politics.
  • For the first time since, well, quite a long time, we have no sizeable opposition in Parliament. It's either Government or Labour (who are even more authoritarian than the current lot).

    All laws that the Government wants, the Government will get.

    Well, I guess we have "Green" Caroline Lucas of Brighton Pavilion...

    • by xaxa (988988) on Friday July 09, 2010 @05:54AM (#32848782)

      For the first time since, well, quite a long time, we have no sizeable opposition in Parliament.

      What? Were you born since May?

      After the 2005 election (results [wikipedia.org]) Labour had 354 MPs, everyone else had 292. Any law Labour wanted, they got (hence ID cards, stop and search, etc).

      After the 2010 election (results [wikipedia.org]), the Con-Lib coalition has 362 MPs, everyone else has 248. Any law Con-Lib wants they'll get.

      That's how the House of Commons works (regardless of whether you agree with it or not).

      • Any law Labour wanted, they got

        To some extent. A Commons majority government is by definition over 50%. Your argument appears to be vacuous.

        But there was still sizeable LD opposition to encourage debate (the lack of which resulted in the rushed DEA) and sway Tories and less-loyal Labour, particularly on civil liberties. The Tories even provided an opposition to Labour from time to time. So laws were carefully drafted and tweaked to render them less abusive.

        Now, we have.. Clegg's word?

        248

        288?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        And it's much less true for the coalition than it was for labour. The extreme wings of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties are unlikely to agree on anything, but the moderates in both parties require their cooperation to pass laws. If Cameron tries forcing conservative policies through, Clegg faces a rebellion in his own party if he agrees and the coalition falls apart. If Clegg tries to push some of the more extreme liberal policies, the centrist Conservatives won't back him and they fail. A
        • Except that the Party already agreed to a coalition in which essentially no major LD policy not already coinciding with Tory policy was demanded. The fact that LD backbenchers are still there implies that they have gone mysteriously limp will not give trouble to Cameron. I guess there's something about the theatre of power which makes a man strangely impotent.

          We've only had one general election resulting in hung parliament minority government since WW2, and this was under the completely different circumstan

          • by Xest (935314)

            "Except that the Party already agreed to a coalition in which essentially no major LD policy not already coinciding with Tory policy was demanded."

            You mean apart from a referendum on electoral reform which the Tories are staunchly opposed to, pretty much the entire section on civil liberties, and an increased threshold for the lowest tax bracket?

            Realistically, for a party that got 23% of popular vote, they've managed to get far more than that in terms of policy pushed through.

            If you're wondering why the bac

            • You mean apart from a referendum on electoral reform which the Tories are staunchly opposed to

              What are you talking about? The LD platform was for PR. AV is as bad or worse than FPTP from a proportionality point of view, and no-one really wants it so it's unlikely to receive significant support. (This will then be interpreted as no-one wanting PR.)

              pretty much the entire section on civil liberties

              Could you be more specific? Specify clearly what the Tories agreed to as a condition of coalition. Do not include what was already part of their election platform (or follows from it: e.g. fingerprints in passports).

              and an increased threshold for the lowest tax bracket?

              Again, please be more specific. If you're

              • by mdwh2 (535323)

                Put it the other way round - what Tory policies did the Lib Dems agree to, that were against fundamental Lib Dem principles?

                Also remember what the share of the seats was - we'd expect that the resultant coalition would be split in the Tories' favour, and not split equally.

                • Put it the other way round

                  Or perhaps answer the question? ;-) Unless you're parodying a classic politician "NO U" avoidance technique.

                  And to confirm that I'm happy to answer your question, but only briefly so as not to deflect from the original question: the LDs want a system of proportional representation. The Tories want a single member constituency system.

                  (The FPTP vs AV is a red herring: neither are systems of proportional representation. The proposed legislation, as well as shutting up those who aren't really paying attention,

              • by Xest (935314)

                "What are you talking about? The LD platform was for PR. AV is as bad or worse than FPTP from a proportionality point of view, and no-one really wants it so it's unlikely to receive significant support. (This will then be interpreted as no-one wanting PR.)"

                This comment really perfectly summed up my closing point. People like yourself seem to believe that a junior partner should get 100% of their own way, that's absurd. AV is a hell of a compromise and a step in the right direction, that's absolutely what ma

                • AV is a hell of a compromise and a step in the right direction

                  Read Crispin Allard's very short and to-the-point article in Representation. He asserts that, in aggregate terms, neither FPTP nor AV can be assessed as more proportional. But AV favours moderate/close parties "which are good at attracting vote transfers". In particular, he contrasts 1992 and prior elections with the 1997 election: the proximity of LD and New[tm] Labour meant that AV would have further solidified Labour's lead.

                  It's not difficult, compare the Tory and Lib Dem manifestos civil liberties section against the coalition agreement, it's not hard to see the Lib Dems got a lot of what they wanted.

                  Inability to answer the question and dismissing the exercise with "do your homewo

                  • by Xest (935314)

                    "Read Crispin Allard's very short and to-the-point article in Representation. He asserts that, in aggregate terms, neither FPTP nor AV can be assessed as more proportional. But AV favours moderate/close parties "which are good at attracting vote transfers". In particular, he contrasts 1992 and prior elections with the 1997 election: the proximity of LD and New[tm] Labour meant that AV would have further solidified Labour's lead."

                    It doesn't really matter if it solidified Labours lead, because it'd also mean

                    • but say they'd prefer Labour to the Tories, that at very least adds a little more credibility to Labour holding majority of power

                      Implying that your second choice is worth some proportion of my first choice. Under AV the proportion of Tory MPs would have reflected even less the proportion of people actually choosing Tory.

                      If you want to justify AV, go ahead. But don't use simplistic arguments to claim that it is anything like proportional, or - more importantly - anything like what the LDs appeared to promote before the coalition. If I can't convince you, consider Churchill's opinion and the link to LD Roy Jenkins' detailed analysis so [telegraph.co.uk]

                    • by Xest (935314)

                      "If you want to justify AV, go ahead. But don't use simplistic arguments to claim that it is anything like proportional, or - more importantly - anything like what the LDs appeared to promote before the coalition. If I can't convince you, consider Churchill's opinion and the link to LD Roy Jenkins' detailed analysis somewhere around here."

                      Ah I see, so now you're simply making things up? I never said it was anything like proportional or what the LDs actually want to achieve. I merely pointed out it's better

                    • You just said:

                      I never said it was anything like proportional [and more backpedalling]

                      On Friday July 09, @01:18PM, you said:

                      AV is a hell of a compromise and a step in the right direction, that's absolutely what matters because AV is still far closer to PR

                      To continue:

                      ignoring the actual information out there, or simply putting a spin on the facts.

                      Each of my points was backed up by a page reference to the individual party and coalition manifestos.

                      Again, building straw men such as saying the child asylum seeker pledge isn't worth forming a coalition over- who ever said it was?

                      The LDs imply it in forming a coalition: it typifies the scope and extent of the very few LD coalition achievements.

                      you'll find plenty more examples there of Lib Dem policies taken over to the coalition document

                      No. As far as LD-sourced entries, I just see vague handwaving from, "We will introduce a Freedom Bill," to, "We will restore rights to non-violent protest." I'm not expecting the manifesto to go into as much detail as the Bill, but

                    • by Xest (935314)

                      "far closer" is not the same as "is the same as".

                      Perhaps if you had a point, and stopped putting words into my mouth, I'd have something to learn from you. But seeing as you're still building straw men I think I'll pass on trying to learn anything from you thanks.

                      The fact you've glazed over the entire section in the freedom bill detailing further information on protecting the rights of protestors shows how desperate you're getting to try and carry on dragging your invalid inference that the coalition govern

                    • "far closer" is not the same as "is the same as"

                      You slipped up. Let it go. You don't lose any Internet man-points. It's not as if you got caught on something easy. Many people have been fooled into thinking that AV is "far closer" to PR, thought about it a bit, then acknowledged that it is - as you say - not "anything like" it.

                      To continue:

                      The fact you've glazed over the entire section in the freedom bill detailing further information on protecting the rights of protestors

                      The LD version of the Freedom Bill on the LD web site is not part of any coalition agreement. You've seen the words "Freedom Bill" in the coalition agreement and falsely assumed that it's referring to the LD's Freedom B

            • by digitig (1056110)

              Wait to see how the parliamentary vote for the referendum on electoral reform goes, if the fairly far right Tories rebel and vote against it, and Labour vote against it and the referendum doesn't hence get the go ahead, you can be sure the Lib Dems will split and the government will fall.

              If Labour vote against it -- and I suspect they will -- then I think they'll be shooting themselves in the foot because it's been in their own manifesto for at least the last three elections. I think the backbench Conservatives will be easier to control, because few MPs want to bring down the government they are a part of, but if Labour go against their own manifesto then it will only take a few rebels to foul things up.

              I don't know why some people seem to think the Lib Dems getting junior partner status in a coalition means we should expect to see near 100% of Lib Dem policies win through, that's utterly rediculous.

              I doubt the poster you were replying to actually believes that. I've seen a lot of hard

              • because it's been in their own manifesto for at least the last three elections

                It's a running joke that every Labour manifesto involves contemplating PR after the next election. This isn't even PR.

                I've seen a lot of hardline Labour supporters feigning fury at LD

                Oh, don't be paranoid. I know this is the Internet but not everyone who disagrees with you has some covert agenda. "Astroturfer!!!"

                "hypocrisy" for entering into a coalition that doesn't give them total control

                Any control. The only LD "wins" are the Tories delivering what they'd promised before the election and were very likely to deliver.

                The problem is that the LDs entered a coalition with the Tories. I'd add "without managing to effect significant policy change" but

                • by mdwh2 (535323)

                  Even if there is no benefit for Lib Dems in a coalition, I also see no loss.

                  But you're forgetting two things:
                  * Even if no Lib Dem only policies were included, this means that some of the worse Tory policies can be avoided.
                  * Moreover, it can be done whilst maintaining a stable Government, rather than simply voting against them, which risks a re-election.

                  And if hung Parliaments and coalitions get a bad name, and are unworkable, how much support are you ever going to see for PR? What good is PR, if people like

                  • this means that some of the worse Tory policies can be avoided.

                    They wouldn't be voted through anyway.

                    rather than simply voting against them, which risks a re-election.

                    Why do you consider the risk significant? What past historical evidence is there? What significant battles, such as those based on the ideological opposites of 1974, do you foresee?

                    What good is PR, if people like you are dead against the Lib Dems working with anyone?

                    The coalition is a very bad sort of "working with anyone". Agreements can be made over specific policy issues without creating a government which depends on Cameron's will being projected across two parties.

                    Labour and the Tories have enough in common today that they don't need to be sitting o

                • by digitig (1056110)

                  It's a running joke that every Labour manifesto involves contemplating PR after the next election. This isn't even PR.

                  There is no perfect PR system -- heck, there is no perfect electoral system of any sort. Most people here will already know the implications of Arrow's theorem. AV is a lot closer to PR than what we have. You think we should sacrifice the good because it's not perfect?

                  Oh, don't be paranoid. I know this is the Internet but not everyone who disagrees with you has some covert agenda. "Astroturfer!!!"

                  Xest has already shown that the LDs have got some policy in which wouldn't have been there otherwise, and others including me have pointed out that the presence of the LDs in the coalition make it harder for the Conservatives to get some of th

                  • AV is a lot closer to PR than what we have.

                    No it isn't. It's a single-member constituency system, just like FPTP. To reiterate what I've just typed above: Read Crispin Allard's very short and to-the-point article in Representation. He asserts that, in aggregate terms, neither FPTP nor AV can be assessed as more proportional. But AV favours moderate/close parties "which are good at attracting vote transfers". In particular, he contrasts 1992 and prior elections with the 1997 election: the proximity of LD and New[tm] Labour meant that AV would have fu

              • by dkf (304284)

                If Labour vote against it -- and I suspect they will -- then I think they'll be shooting themselves in the foot because it's been in their own manifesto for at least the last three elections.

                All the indications are that Labour will be more keen on voting against the bill on the grounds that it reduces the number of MPs and changes all the constituency boundaries. Quite apart from the fact that this would be likely to affect them more than anyone else anyway, shaking up constituency boundaries is an open invitation to gerrymandering (whether or not you think that the current system is good that way) and it's just a good way to cause trouble.

                Plus I suspect that both the Tories and Labour would lo

              • Isnt "shooting themselves in the Foot" in the Labout manifesto?

                They shafted every section of the voting population in the last 13 years. Only civil servants, the terminally stupid, and the class war obsessed would ever vote for them while there is a choice.

                Unfotrunately nearly 50% of employed people are civil servants. Thats why we are in a mess. (Which is separate from the mess made by Ponzi promoters who call themselves w^Hbankers and are paid vast sums to steal our money, who funded labour and were wo

                • by digitig (1056110)

                  Only civil servants, the terminally stupid, and the class war obsessed would ever vote for them while there is a choice.

                  Or those who see the Tories as the only alternative and who remember what they were like last time. As somebody said a couple of elections ago, we have a choice between being forced to eat shit or eat shit with razorblades.

                • "they must be clever, because they are so rich" - No, its because they are thieves with government protection

                  Too many of my ex-schoolchumps are now in investment. They are rich and they are thieves with government protection because they are clever. How do you legislate against the strong reaching the top and colluding to take from the weak?

              • by Xest (935314)

                The more he goes on the more I think you're probably right. He seems to be rambling on about how the Lib Dem's didn't get things entirely their own way, whilst completely ignoring the fact the the other coalition option- Labour, were offering even less concessions to the Lib Dems.

                It'll be interesting to see what happens next election, but I suspect the real Lib Dem supporters will continue to vote Lib Dem, because the fact we actually have some Lib Dem policies being implemented for once is a step beyond wh

          • by mdwh2 (535323)

            This was the worst possible outcome. Even if a minority government collapsed and the following election mirrored the ~2.4% (IIRC) swing of October 1974, we wouldn't end up with a Tory majority

            So what would have happened? We'd be back to a hung Parliament again. I'd rather Lib Dems trying to work with the Tories, than Tories running a minority Government alone.

            To say more on your comments about no opposition - there's more chance for effective opposition in a hung Parliament, than usual where a Government ha

            • I'd rather Lib Dems trying to work with the Tories, than Tories running a minority Government alone.

              Why? What's worse about the Lib Dems having a free vote?

              there's more chance for effective opposition in a hung Parliament,

              As long as parties don't give up their principles for coalition.

      • by daveewart (66895)

        For the first time since, well, quite a long time, we have no sizeable opposition in Parliament.

        The size of the opposition (i.e. number of MPs) is fairly typical really. The problem is that the opposition consists of MPs who belong to the unpopular former-governing Labour party. People have become too used, over recent years, to disbelieving them ;-)

        • No sizeable opposition in the sense of group of MPs who can and will act as opposition to the Government, not in the sense of few people sitting on the opposite side of the House. We currently have 28 non-Lib/Con and non-Lab MPs. The Tories are currently following Labour's lead (or vice versa if you look further back).

    • (Sorry: replied to the wrong thread) Before the election: Cameron: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdHlYwIHO8Y&feature=channel [youtube.com] [youtube.com] Clegg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXCQwwjDkTA [youtube.com] [youtube.com] For completeness, Brown: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBH914AUkfg&feature=channel [youtube.com] [youtube.com] Bet you 10p there's no substantial change, though.
    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      How do you mean? The DEA was passed by Labour. The potential opposition to that law are the ones in power. You're saying it's better to have Labour in power, so that the other parties can "oppose" it even if it means nothing? I'd rather have them actually able to repeal some of these laws.

      Sure, if the new Government now starts doing authoritarian things, that's depressing, but that's nothing new - it's always been a choice between Labour and Tory, both of whom have been authoritarian in the past. Lib Dems m

      • it's always been a choice between Labour and Tory

        Only by a very simplistic geek-like understanding of Parliament: "policies are decided by numbers of each Party". If that were the case then usual aim for majority government would mean we might as well just go straight to an automatic "yes" on every law the current government proposes and does not encounter immediate backbench rebellion to.

        Laws aren't suddenly proposed and simultaneously voted on. LD involvement (esp. civil liberties, war) has been valuable in the past 13 years as providing the opposition

  • Chect TFA - they are not opposing this because they think the *concept* is wrong. It's because the law would only apply to ISPs with more than 400,000 subscribers. They are worried that people will shift to other smaller ISP who don't do the monitoring. They're just worried about their bottom line.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday July 09, 2010 @06:36AM (#32848936) Journal
      No, that's only half of their complaint. The other half is that the required monitoring would cost them money. Companies generally oppose laws that require them to spend more money. In this case, they're being required to spend money to do something that we don't want them to do, and some of their competitors are not.
      • by IBBoard (1128019)

        That was what I thought when I first read it as well - this is some big ISPs using "freedom of speech" and other more emotive topics to say "we don't want to be lumbered with additional legislation and expense that only benefits the big media companies and is a detriment to out profits".

        Ah, for the dream of a land where companies did actually care for people...

  • OK--perhaps it will have little effect on anybody taking decisions, but it won't take more than a few minutes of your time, and if it can drive stories in the press etc, so much the better.

    1. Create an account at that rather lame new government site about repealing unneccessary laws to save money [hmg.gov.uk].
    2. Search for Digital Economy Act, or go to http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=site%3Ayourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk+digital+economy [google.co.uk]. Vote up some of the many threads that you find. Comment in support of each of these threads.
    3. Sta

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