Friday, 2 April 2010

Digital Economy Bill: Letter to my MP

Anybody who follows me on twitter is probably aware of the utter ballache I've experienced trying to correspond with my MP, Patricia Hewitt. Seems her preferred manner of dealing with letters and emails that are, shall we say, not quite in line with her own principles, is to ignore them.

Nearly a month ago I wrote to her regarding the Digital Economy Bill. I never received a response and after calling her office a couple of days ago was told she never received it (lies, because I received an automated response saying she received my email).

Anyway, I've written again and have been promised by her office assistant that I'll get a response. Here's what I wrote to her, I'll publish her reply, if I get one, and we'll see if she's taken after many other MPs in completely ignoring the issues raised.

Dear Patricia Hewitt,

I write to you directly on the understanding that my correspondence via was lost in the ether. I hope you can therefore respond to this message swiftly, especially considering the pressing importance of the matter.

As I'm sure you are aware, the controversial Digital Economy Bill is due to go through 'wash-up' in Parliament on the 6th April, despite thousands of objections from people, many of whom are involved in the digital economy, including myself as both a student of and professional in new media.

There are numerous reasons to oppose the bill, including the draconian disconnection laws that bypass the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty and which also put at risk the open wifi networks used by countless universities, libraries and schools. As somebody who claims to be a supporter of civil liberties I trust you can see that such proposals are a grave concern.

Further, and perhaps more depressingly, is the manner in which the Bill is being ramrodded through Parliament without any proper debate, at the behest of the music industry. As this one particular blogger quite rightly identifies, many of the political faces behind the bill are unelected with links to industry. Now the bill looks likely to be rushed through Parliament in the wash-up, without any proper scrutiny.

The Bill has seen much public denouncement from many big businesses including all the major ISPs as well as other large internet organisations such as Google. The only people that stand to benefit from the bill are the music industry, who are failing to adapt to the changing environment, whilst many small businesses, educational institutions and normal people on the street will lose out. For a succinct yet detailed breakdown of why the bill is bad news may I suggest you read this blogpost by Paul Bradshaw.

In light of the depth of contempt held towards the bill in its current guise, the far reaching negative impacts it will have on civil liberties and the digital economy beyond the music industry and the undemocratic way in which it is being pursued, I urge you to stand up for democracy and prevent it being made law without any proper discussion. As a start, you may like to support Austin Mitchell MP's Early Day Motion that the bill not be taken any further in this Parliament.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Etc. etc.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent letter - I copied some of it when sending to my parents MP in Ayr.