Dear Justine Greening,
I'm writing to you about the Government's plans to rush through the complex and extremely important Digital Economy Bill during the wash up period at the end of this Parliament, meaning that what is currently a flawed and dangerous piece of legislation will be turned into law without the full debate it so desperately needs.
As it stands the law is extremely controversial and contains many measures that would actually hinder the growth of Britain's knowledge economy, as well as disenfranchising many UK citizens from the growing number of vital online services. I strongly believe that the bill deserves proper scrutiny, so please don't let the government rush it through. There are clauses in the bill as it stands that will seriously effect small businesses, as it includes clauses that allow the Government to disconnect people it suspects of copyright infringement without any recourse, removing the service provider protections that cafes and coffee shops (and even libraries and schools) need when they offer Internet services to help boost their businesses. There also clauses that allow the Secretary of State to change something as vital to the country's well-being as copyright without Parliamentary oversight,
I'm not a legal expert, and must defer to people like my friend Professor Lillian Edwards, who wrote this blog post on the subject:
However I am a technologist (I helped found one of the UK's first national ISPs and spent many years helping UK companies build their Internet presences) and now am a writer specialising in the online industry and the web community, and from all my contacts, especially in the UK's fragile and vitally important startup community there is a sense that this bill is not a help to Britain's nascent digital economy
- instead it looks set to send the country back to a digital dark ages with an Internet more government-controlled than China's.
I'm not alone in my worries - even Google opposes the bill - yet the Government seems intent on forcing it through without a real debate.
I am writing to you today as your constituent to ask you to do all you can to ensure the Government doesn't just rush the bill through and deny us our democratic rights.
I encourage you to do something similar.