Shameless plug: Digital Economy Act comment at NMK

Chris Lee over at New Media Knowledge reached out to a number of people in the digital field to get their take on what he described as the ‘true picture’ on the Digital Economy Act and whilst some if it is still shaping up, you can find quotes from Sebastian Lahtinen of Think Broadband, Paul Dawson of EMC Consulting and myself. Its a good read, go and have a look.

Here is the full text that I sent Chris over email for his article:

The Digital Economy Bill presents us with a number of unknown factors as much of it will depend on how lawyers interpret it. It is likely to be good for lawyers and reputation management specialists as it could be miss-used in a similar way to the US DMC Act to suppress free speech.

There has never been a better time to set up a courier service as there is likely to be an increase in exchange of electronic files via the SneakerNet due to the regulations. It is also a good opportunity for software companies like Narus and Detica who are likely to be providing the software which will analyse every packet of data which enters or leaves an internet connection. 

This is likely to encourage the technologically savvy to encrypt their connection and use a VPN service, in Sweden where a similar law was brought in, internet traffic dipped for a few months and then went back to its former levels this time encrypted.

It is also likely to cause a legal headache for businesses; small ones such as independent coffee shop could do without the hassle so are likely to shut down free Wi-Fi by default. 

Mike Butcher over at Techcrunch has articulated the impact on the UK start-up community. Part of the problem is definition of what “is likely to be used for in connection with an activity that infringes copyright” in clause 8, that could pretty much mean anything from YouTube to a photocopy machine or a set of scissors.  Illegal file-sharing is based on the nebulous ‘suspicious activity’ which could be using Yousendit to send Granny a video of the kids birthday party or using a VPN tunnel to connect to the office or protect your privacy.

All of this surveillance is going to cost money and the public will end up paying one way or the other for the music labels to pour over every aspect of their electronic lives looking for infringing content and God only knows what else.

It is worthwhile bearing in mind that the data-mining from Tesco’s Clubcard scheme has turned into a very lucrative business.