Peter Mandelson... TV Producer, Spin-doctor, Politician, Tosser

Andrew Bolster

Researcher at the University of Liverpool, Founder/Director at Farset Labs

For a man who’s title is currently Baron Mandelson, _of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and of Hartlepool in the County of Durham, _First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, President of the Board of Trade and Lord President of the Council, educated in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and is hotly tipped to become a major part of the Lisbon-Treaty-generated-unelected-cou-detat-european-super-parliment, you’d think the power-addicted, peace-process screwing, ‘shreud loaning’ rat would leave well enough alone.

You’d be wrong.

Under the Digital Economy Bill, Peter… Sorry, BARON Mandelson has been given unlimited powers to extend penalties to (suspected, theres no real trials) illegal filesharers or copyright violators online. Similar to the much discussed and eventually culled french ‘three-strikes’ rule on filesharing (that Mr Sarkosy would fail), its once…twice…three times a bitch, as £50,000 fine would fall through your letter box (to be noted, this is per household, so thats  one movie for mum, a e-book for dad, and a tune for Ann, and poor little timmy foots the bill).  But Peter ‘The Baron’ Mandelson isnt done yet.

His powers, under this bill, are extended to that he can appoint whoever the hell he likes to keep an eye on you and your internet usage to catch right’s infringers (i’d say they should look inward for right’s infringement…) , and oust you from the network. No Trial, no Jury, hell, as far as I can read, you dont even need to know you’re under suspicion until your under-arrest. _Then _you don’t need to know exactly what your charged with, _then _you have no realistic way of knowing what potential punishment ‘The Baron’ will cook up.

And I mean ‘cook up’. In the bill there is no limit on fine amount or potential jail-time.

The icing on the cash-filled cake is that the the Government have already assured it’s success, by stating that ISP’s who are caught-not-catching copyright infringers will get (at least) £250,000 fines.

This kind of racketeering is shameful and pointless, and to add insult to injury to the internet-generation, the bill says nothing about providing computers for schools, guaranteeing broadband access for disenfranchised families and low-income areas, increasing governmental openess, adoption of Open Source Software in the public sector, cracking down on spams, scams, or credit card fraud. Nothing. Not a bit.

With such pressing matters already pushing Britian’s economy into the under-flab of international competition, what does this bill concern itself with? Ofcom is told to ‘observe’ more (umm, i thought that was their point?), Channel 4 gets public-service broadcast responsibilities (yay, more crap!), and expanding mobile broadband investment (because that’s going to be great for service in already served areas, such as LONDON).

And to finish the whole shambels off, a nice little ditty on compulsory age ratings on all video games…

To quote Cory Doctorow

why is it acceptable for the government to declare that some forms of artwork have to be mandatorily labelled as to their suitability for kids? And why is it only some media? Why not paintings? Why not novels? Why not modern dance or ballet or opera?

Stop the world, I want to get off.

Published: November 25 2009

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