Digital Economy Bill

You may have seen over past few days there has been ongoing debate in the House of Commons over the Digital Economy Bill. The main purposes of this Bill is; to enable fast digital communication services to citizens and businesses, to enable investment in digital communications infrastructure, to shape the emerging digital world to the benefit of children, consumers and business and to support the digital transformation of government. Thus enabling the delivery of better public services, world leading research and better statistics.

The Bill contains measures on; providing a universal broadband service for the United Kingdom, additional powers for Ofcom in respect of information provision, consumer switching and automatic compensation in relation to communication matters, a new Electronic Communication Code and other communications infrastructure measures. It also contains measures to introduce better controls on online pornography, measures to protect citizens from nuisance calls measures related to digital intellectual property alongside powers to share data between public authorities and measures with relation to the BBC.

It is estimated that there are up to 2.4 million properties in the UK still without a 10Mbps connection. Universal Service Obligation (USO) would give everyone the right to request a service faster than 10Mbps.

Other important aspects of the Bill relate to data protection. The sharing or linking of data should be proportionate, (i.e. the minimum amount and type of data necessary is used), the powers are constrained so that there are specific purposes for which data can be disclosed. The Bill highlights that information cannot be disclosed under the powers if it contravenes the Data Protection Act.

The Digital Economy Bill, should it be passed in full, will bring protection and benefit to UK residents and also provide the police and government with more powers to prosecute businesses and individuals who are in breach of these laws.


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