Digital Economy Bill [ Lords]

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 4:44 pm on 6th April 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 4:44 pm, 6th April 2010

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his intervention. I share his concerns about the process, but if he looks at the measures he will see that there are quite long time gaps before it will be possible for a Secretary of State to lay regulations before the House to allow, for example, for the suspension of internet accounts. There is a period of time during which we can come to understand the likely impact of these regulations and how they could be framed in order to avoid unintended consequences.

One thing that particularly concerned me about the drafting of the regulations at an earlier stage was the chilling possibility that a rights holder could contact an internet service provider directly and say, "We're concerned about this website. If you don't block access to it we'll get a court order, and you'll be lumbered with the costs because you haven't behaved reasonably." My hon. Friend Mr. Binley, who was here earlier but is no longer in his place, raised the issue of costs. It is very important to frame costs issues so that only where a court order has been properly obtained-in other words, where there has been due process-could access to a website be blocked. To answer my right hon. Friend's question, yes, we absolutely are making a commitment that if these regulations are flawed and have unintended consequences we will bring measures before the House as a matter of urgency; it is incredibly important to get them right.

Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website