Digital economy bill rushed through in late night session
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 8 April 2010
A draconian Internet censorship bill that has been long looming on the horizon finally passed the house of commons in the UK yesterday, legislating for government powers to restrict and filter any website that is deemed to be undesirable for public consumption.
The new clause allows the unelected secretary of state for business, currently Lord Mandelson, to order the blocking of “a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright”.
Opposing MPs argued that the clause was too broad and open ended, arguing that the phrase “likely to be used” could be used to block websites without them ever having been used for “activity that infringes copyright”. Other MPs argued that under the bill, whistleblower websites, such as Wikileaks, could be targeted.
The legislation is part of an amplified effort by the government to seize more power over the internet and those who use it.
For months now unelected “Secretary of State” Lord Mandelson has overseen government efforts to challenge the independence of the of UK’s internet infrastructure.