New legal challenge for Digital Economy Act

Internet service providers file for High Court judicial review
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BT and TalkTalk have both filed requests with the High Court asking for a review of the Digital Economy Act.

The Act, which was rushed through Parliament at the very end of Labour’s term, saw a number of additions and amendments in the weeks prior to its ratification, drawing strong criticism from ISPs, human rights activists and net neutrality advocates.

Most controversial has been the disconnection policy introduced in an attempt to combat the illegal download of intellectual property – a policy that TalkTalk, among others, has refused to participate in.

“The Act was rushed through Parliament in the ‘wash up’ period after the General Election was called in early April. It’s our belief that this haste meant the Digital Economy Bill, as it then was, became law without being properly scrutinised and without its impact being properly assessed,” wrote TalkTalk’s chairman Charles Dunstone, in his blog.

“As a result, we’re seeking clarity from the Court before we and other industry players are asked to implement the Act. We want to avoid a situation where we invest tens of millions of pounds in new systems and processes only to find that the Act is unenforceable and the money wasted. We led a campaign against the Digital Economy Bill when it was going through Parliament because we felt it was unfair and, worse, unworkable. It’s fair to say we weren’t alone in our opposition.”

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