The Digital Economy Bill has received significant criticism from service providers and users alike with ISP TalkTalk being one of the most vocal. This morning, the Financial Times has published a letter which argues that the plans to suspend Internet access for those who illegally download content are unfair.
The letter specifically targets criticism at the amendment passed last week in the House of Lords with the backing of the Liberal Democrat and Conservative peers. Internet Service Providers had already raised concerns about provisions requiring them to block access to certain sites pursuant to court orders.
"blocking access as envisaged by this clause would both widely disrupt the internet in the UK and elsewhere and threaten freedom of speech and the open internet, without reducing copyright infringement as intended. To rush through such a controversial proposal at the tail end of a parliament, without any kind of consultation with consumers or industry, is very poor lawmaking."Letter to the Financial Times
The letter was signed on behalf of Orange, Facebook, Virgin Media, Google UK & Ireland, TalkTalk, ISPA UK, Consumer Focus, Open Rights Group, eBay UK, BT Group, Yahoo! UK & Ireland, Shooting People independent film makers, as well as academics from the University of Leicester, Queen Mary (University of London) and finally Tom Watson MP and Stephen Fry.
The BBC also reports that Chief Executive of BT Ian Livingstone has called for fines instead of disconnections which an individual could decide to defend in court if necessary.