Friday, April 09, 2010

Dear Ann Keen

Dear Ann Keen,

I am deeply disappointed to read that you voted to pass the Digital Economy Bill so close to the election when such a clumsy and poorly conceived piece of legislation would be obfuscated by the announcement of the date of the election. With the supposed debate revealing the shocking lack of understanding by MPs of how even basic elements of modern technology when the minister for Digital Britain thinks that an IP address is an Intellectual Property address (see: for more) I'm utterly appalled that you put your name to this vote.

I fail to see how it does anything but persecute ordinary people and illustrate how the government has become a lapdog at the beck and call of big businesses when media corporations can demand that people suffer the censure of disconnection with the burden of proof falling on the individual. What happened to the basic tenet of a presumption of innocence as a fundamental of British jurisprudence? In the modern age digital disconnection puts many people at extreme risk of losing their jobs and of falling into horrific financial disarray if they do their banking digitally rather than on paper and yet you believe that the suspicion without any proof that someone might have made a mix tape for their friend is sufficient to withdraw the ability to communicate, to do their banking, to pay their bills, to look for jobs, or to find information?

I'm disgusted, frankly. Is that really a rational and proportionate response to kids wanting to listen to music or watch a film without the half hour of copyright nagging-screens and adverts you're forced to endure if you buy it, or if you want an electronic copy of media you already own in physical media and therefore have the right in law to own in other formats?

When only one in twenty MPs were in attendance at the vote I applaud that you were making the effort to go to work, but really, this does smack of subterfuge and I sincerely hope it fails to remain law and some kind of rational debate can be made possible.

Yours with sincere regret,

Howard Hardiman


Charlotte said...

Here, here.... your letter also served a great purpose to reignite words that I believed were extinct in the English lanuage!

MQ said...

As usual, superbly eloquent and articulate!

Were it not against the laws of copyright and blahblah I'd be tempted to use the text to write to my own MP, but since it is, I wouldn't dream of it, oh no, not me.

I'd be interested to hear if you get a response. Not just because she's probably electioneering but also because I increasingly get the impression MPs don't really care about issues like this that they (potentially) don't really get.

Anonymous said...

Pretty excellent letter, in my opinion. When the Internet is so important to our every day functioning (finding jobs, maintaining our relationships with friends, banking, findin information, education) taking that away should really be considered akin to a prison sentence.

One small hope is the bill might possibly be able to be challenged at the eu level. Fingers crossed.