Digital Economy Bill [ Lords]

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 7:57 pm on 6th April 2010.

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Photo of John Robertson John Robertson Labour, Glasgow North West 7:57 pm, 6th April 2010

I understand what my hon. Friend is saying, but it is a little like my hon. Friend Mr. Mitchell who, when asked what he would do, said he did not know. I know that we have to do something. Identifying people and writing to them is a long process, but my hon. Friend Mr. Simon made a good point. By the time people are at risk of being cut off, they probably deserve to be cut off.

The problem arises when young people are involved. I go back to an intervention that I made on my own Front-Bench team, about whether we should criminalise young people for doing something that all their friends are doing. I may own a computer and have access to the internet, but my child is using it to download material and put it on their iPod, MP3 player or whatever they have, and I get the blame for it because access was granted to me. I hope it would be possible to make that clear in response to letters telling me that I was doing something illegal. Children are not always great at telling their parents everything they do. What are we going to do to safeguard the child who is doing only what their friends at school are doing? They do not believe they are doing anything wrong. We need to educate them.

The other problem is how we educate the parents. Children now know a lot more about the internet and how to use it than their parents. There does not seem to be anything in the Bill to cover a parent who, by accident, falls foul of an ISP because of their child's downloads.

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