The British House of Lords has pushed through the latest version of the Digital Economy Bill, which features provisions that would put the onus on ISPs to track and report illegal file sharers and copyright violators.
The Bill, which now moves to the House of Commons for approval, would have ISPs issue such reports to both the copyright owner, as well as to the British Office of Communications (OFCOM), reports a story on Beta News. If passed, OFCOM would control how ISPs monitor their users and how long information is retained by ISPs.
In order to “prevent or reduce” Internet copyright infringement, the Secretary of State may direct OFCOM to limit, suspend or cut off ISP user access for “some or all relevant subscribers.” New measures would also reportedly enable courts to force ISPs to block websites that contribute to copyright infringement.
Junior Business Minister Lord Young said such measures would “not be capable of being enforced” and were incompatible with the European Union Technical Standards Directive.
The changes, which are alleged to have been copied almost word-for-word from a music industry lobby group draft, caused Pirate Party spokesperson Andrew Robinson to state, “The public will not respect a law that was quite literally written by the record industry, for the record industry.”
Open Rights group Executive Director Jim Killock added:
The Bill doesn’t require any test of evidence before harsh punishments are imposed on people accused of copyright infringement, and opens the door to a ratcheting up of unwarranted powers without democratic scrutiny.