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UK Government Seeks New Web Censorship Powers 187

oldandcold writes "Given the recent coverage and controversy over Australia's forthcoming web censorship system, it is somewhat surprising (and worrying) that Clause 11 of the UK's proposed Digital Economy Bill seems to have gone by largely unnoticed. It amends the Communications Act 2003 to insert a new section 124H that could give the Secretary of State powers to order ISPs to block pretty much any website for pretty much any reason. Such orders would not require the scrutiny of parliament, or anyone else for that matter, because the Secretary of State would not be required to publish them."
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UK Government Seeks New Web Censorship Powers

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  • Re:Democracy ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bibekpaudel ( 1113383 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @02:05PM (#30460700) Homepage Journal

    Why? Where's your comparison with these other European countries?

    Well, for one, here's one: [] UK ranks 21st overall, and there are 13 European countries above it. The rankings are from a UK based organization.

  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @02:27PM (#30461064)

    Just think, there are people who want to hand over regulation of internet traffic to the government under the name of "net neutrality," yet here we have a government proving that it would happily censor content. Imagine what would happen once lobbyists convinced bribed politicians to regulate things like torrent traffic in order to prevent "economic terrorism."

    the concept of net neutrality is to legislate specifically to PREVENT abuses like the one this politician is trying to perpetrate.

    Note: he still has to go through the legislature, but ISP's already do this unilaterally whenever they think they can get away with it, and in the US Comcast is suing agains the FCC to keep them from preventing Comcast from butchering traffic.

    Hard-right libertarians don't seem to understand: This is not the pre-industrial era anymore! Royalty no longer controls the economy. Corporations are now SEPARATE from but EQUAL in power to the government, and the only way to keep the little guy from being crushed is to use each to put the other in check. (part of this is intelligent regulation)

  • by ais523 ( 1172701 ) <ais523(524\)(525)x)> on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @02:36PM (#30461212)
    There's only a requirement to put a draft to the vote; I'm not entirely convinced it wouldn't be possible to slip in changes between an approved draft and the actual change. Also, even if the criminal offence requirement turns out to be unavoidable, (5) is dynamite:

    (5) The power may be exercised so as to—
    (a) confer a power or right or impose a duty on any person;
    (b) modify or remove a power, right or duty of any person;
    (c) require a person to pay fees.

    The ability to impose arbitrary duties on anyone?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @02:42PM (#30461324)

    Japan. Duh.

  • by deepershade ( 994429 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:18PM (#30461838)
    It wouldn't give Mandelson any power, as he's not an elected member of parliament, he cannot enact or enforce any law.
    He's been forced to resign once and fired for fraud. After that he was effectively banned from standing as a member of parliament. As such, he was given a job in europe. But Brown being a corrupt douche wanted him back, and so gave him the lordship and hence a seat in the House of Lords. That enabled brown to hire him as business secretary, but he still has no power, merely taking an advisery role.
    He still has influence and as such is still a danger and a threat to the peoples of this nation, but legally, he has no power.

    As for the bill. I wouldn't worry too much. Parliament is out for xmas and will be back late jan early feb, after which the conservatives and lib dems are going to use every opportunity to show up labour. This bill would be a nice bit of ammo, thats if it even gets read. Rumour is that the gov is going to call an early election, march, april time. The moment the election is called, parliament is dissolved and the nation goes into a state of purdah, meaning nothing happens. No laws get passed, changed, everything stays as is til the election is won.
    And because this proposal is a labour one, when the cons win (and they will), they're never going to be seen stealing a labour policy, because thats exactly what labour have been doing to the cons since Blair was first elected.
  • I am shocked (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:19PM (#30461846) Homepage
    I am shocked, shocked I say, to learn that the United Kingdom is going to continue it's policy of invading the privacy of every single person inside their border. From cameras used to trace every car's position, to arresting men for being too violent when capturing the thug that kidnapped their wife & children.
  • Re:Democracy ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:48PM (#30462486)

    What are you talking about? Britain is totally still a Monarchy. The news won't shut up about Queen Elizabeth this and Prince Henry that.

    I mean they don't even have a constitution, just a handful of scattered laws and judgements that would take ages to find if the need arises. How can you possibly be expected to fight for your democratic rights if you can't use the internet to look up which document it's even filed under?

    In the infaliable United States Democracy (in which I do not reside) - those people have their democratic rights MEMORIZED, printed off, laminated, and FRAMED above their mantlepiece.

    You clearly don't know british history or political system. The UK is a constitutional monarchy which means that parliament is required for any laws to be put into place. It has been this way since the English civil war in which the monarch was overthrown, but eventually brought back but with reduced powers, hence why during the queens speech on the opening of parliament, ceremonies such as closing the house of commons door on black rod (the queens messenger) takes place to symbolise that the power really resides with parliament and more specifically house of commons. Not the house of lords or the queen. Mandleson is trying to bypass parliament by passing a law through parliament that will effectively give it less power and more to the secretary of state. Im just hoping some of the labour back benchers will not listen to the part whips and rebel against this act.

  • I should complain (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @04:15PM (#30463010)

    ... being as I live in the UK. But frankly, why bother?

    My local MP is a Labour MP, and (like many Labour MPs) has never voted against anything dreamt up by the party leadership in her life. They could put forward a bill which puts under 18's to death by torture for jaywalking and she'd probably vote for it.

    The only silver lining is that this parliament will be cut short by a general election next year, which with any luck will get shot of Labour for a nice long time.

  • by malkavian ( 9512 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @04:25PM (#30463184)

    What gets me is that Labour still keep chanting "Beware the Conservatives, they're the bogeyman. Evil. They'll take your rights away and make you miserable.".
    All the while, they're taking your rights away. There's a whole load of stuff going down that just makes me wince (the whole register you need to be on if you have contact with anyone's kids more than once a week, otherwise you end up with a huge fine and jail time just as an example)...
    This government we now have has been the most abusive, totalitarian nightmare that I can remember (and I'm 40, so can actually remember a fair bit)..

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong