Google opens fire on Digital Economy Bill

Google has hit out against the controversial Clause 8 in the Digital Economy Bill, claiming it “has escaped proper scrutiny.”

Google opens fire on Digital Economy Bill

Clause 8 grants the secretary of state for business the power to block “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”

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Unsurprisingly, the clause has ruffled Google’s feathers. “The proposals to introduce website blocking – now included in Clause 8 – have escaped proper scrutiny. They were introduced 24 hours before a crucial vote in the House of Lords, without a full debate over whether such a policy is right in principle.”

“We absolutely believe in the importance of copyright, but blocking through injunction creates a high risk that legal content gets mistakenly blocked, or that people abuse the system,” it concluded.

Google was highlighted during the debate by Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster, who noted that the search engine could fall foul of Clause 8’s wide ranging powers.

TalkTalk slams “draconian” bill

TalkTalk has also hit out against the bill, pledging to “continue to battle against these oppressive proposals”.

“Many draconian proposals remain such as the responsibility on customers to protect their home networks from hacking at a collective cost of hundreds of millions of pounds a year, the presumption that they are guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent and, as in China, the potential for legitimate search engines and websites to be blocked,” said Andrew Heaney, executive director of Strategy and Regulation at TalkTalk, who has led the firm’s charge against the bill.

He also attacked the influence that “big music and film companies” had over the bill, and the “absence of any proper debate or scrutiny by MPs”.

The firm has pledged to continue its fight against the bill after the general election.

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