Talk Talk and BT want Digital Economy Act review

Two of the biggest players in the UK telecoms industry are demanding a judicial review of the Digital Economy Act.

The legislation, which was rushed through Parliament in the pre-election wash-up with the minimum of consultation, by a bunch of MPs who didn't really understand what they were voting about, as been widely branded as unfair, undemocratic and utterly unworkable.

Now Talk Talk and BT have joined forces in order to battle against the Big Media lobbyists and their pet MPs to get the law thrown out, saying that in its current state it infringes "basic rights and freedoms".

The most contentious part of the shonky legislation means that broadband subscribers are responsible for all activity which takes place on their connection.

The Act allows copyright holders to demand information about file sharing activity from Internet service providers (ISPs) with the scantest of evidence and in some cases could lead to connections being restricted or even shut down without recourse to proper legal action.

Charles Dunstone, chairman of TalkTalk, told The Times: "The Digital Economy Act's measures will cost the UK hundreds of millions and many people believe they are unfair, unwarranted and won't work. Innocent broadband customers will suffer and citizens will have their privacy invaded."

As it stands, the legislation only affects ISPs with more than 400,000 customers which means that illegal file sharers will simply jump ship to smaller ISPs leaving the big boys to mop up the financial mess.

We expect dozens of new ISPs with 399,999 customers to start appearing in the very near future.

Ironically, both parts of the current ConDem coalition vociferously opposed the Digital Economy Bill before it was passed into law, but Cameron and his cronies seem to think the Act is a jolly good idea now that they are in power.

Deputy PM Nick Clegg, who was once very vocal in his opposition to the Act, said: "The Digital Economy Act sets out to protect our creative economy from the continued threat of online copyright infringement, which industry estimates costs the creative industries, including creators, £400 million per year. We believe measures are consistent with EU legislation and that there are enough safeguards in place to protect the rights of consumers and ISPs and will continute to work on implementing them."

Calls to repeal the DEA currently stand in fourth place among the 'most commented' on the Government's Your Freedom web site which is supposed to be fighting for "a more open and less intrusive society." In third place is a call to bring back hanging so we're not sure how much credence Nick Clegg will give to either.