Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert leads charge to get parts of Digital Economy Act scrapped

by Stephen Tall on September 30, 2010

Julian Huppert, newly elected Lib Dem MP for Cambridge, has made something of a splash in his first months in Parliament, taking up a number of liberal causes, such as the need for more evidence-based and scientific rigour in government decision-making. The Digital Economy Act is one such cause.

TechEYE.net reports:

Julian Huppert said it was wrong to rush the controversial Act through Parliament before the last election and that the proposed measures warrant more discussion. … The new MP for Cambridge said: “Most of the Act is fine, I just don’t agree with every bit of it – and with this section in particular. It is collective punishment. It shouldn’t identify someone from their IP address. If this section can’t be changed, and made to work, then we shouldn’t have it. It should be scrapped.”

Huppert, who tabled an early day motion entitled Effects of Digital Economy Act 2010 On Use of The Internet shortly after the last general election, has been gathering support from other MPs for the cause. And this group has been organising ways to make vital changes to the Act.

According to Huppert, the key is to have more discussion between everyone affected, including consumers, ISPs and those who hold the rights to copyright. The MP, who has a PhD in biological chemistry, said part of the problem stemmed from the Act being rushed through “in the dying days” of the last parliament.

MPs, who would normally try to learn a bit about a subject before voting on it, had other things on their minds – namely, getting re-elected. And so the Act had too short a debate in the Commons in the middle of an election meaning many MPs still don’t really understand the tech issues.

“These are serious issues,” said Huppert. “The bill put too much into the regulations. Having discussion will be extremely useful. I’d like to get the law changed.”

You can read the article in full here.

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Bridget Fox‘s campaigning efforts to stop the worst aspects of the Bill were recognised with her nomination in the LibDemVoice.org ‘Blog of the Year’ awards (Best use of blogging/social networking/e-campaigning by a Liberal Democrat) for leading the party’s grassroots challenge.

And you can catch up on all the Voice’s DE Bill coverage here.