Once again our government shows its contempt for democracy and the rule of law

A week is a long time in politics they say. Was it just last week we were discussing what the next target might be for an increasingly authoritarian government, now equipped with the most effective net censorship architecture in the world? It was. And just seven days on from the idea being mooted by Cif posters, the dark deed has come to pass; Brown’s government is now turning on filesharers.

The rhetoric matches Vernon Coaker’s original threats to ISPs with regard to their enforced “voluntary” adoption of Home Office website blacklists, but this time it’s Lord Triesman, minister for intellectual property, flexing his muscles. Like Coaker, Triesman is keen to avoid all that unnecessary democracy lark – debates, laws, committees etc – and would prefer ISPs to just do as they’re told, and block filesharing sites and networks. He didn’t go quite as far as the boy Cameron in comparing (pdf) the BitTorrent brigade to paedophiles, but there’s no question that whichever government we find ourselves under in the next few years, ISP level censorship of the net is set to be an everyday occurrence.


Now, this being, in theory, a democracy, we might look around for a democratic way of countering this, but what do we see? No laws to repeal; these are gentlemen’s agreements, enforced by people who are surely not gentlemen. No divergence among the parties even; with Cameron in opposition seeking to be tougher than Brown, and the Lib Dems keeping schtum. And even if some legislation was introduced to formalise these server blocks, can we trust parliament to examine it properly?



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