Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Mini liveblog: DEBill debate on Today

Geoff Taylor of the BPI has just been on Today talking about the Digitial Economy Bill. It's impossible to tell if he really is an idiot, or just happy to try and take people for a ride.

Amongst his strange claims were that it didn't matter that there wasn't enough time for proper debate in parliament as "there had already been a lot of debate in the media" and that it didn't matter the elected chamber would look at the legislation properly as the Lords already had, and that that was where most revisions to legislation took place. (He didn't mention that was where a BPI patsy had dumped some of his trades group's own words into the legislation.)

Taylor also claimed that all the parties supported the bill being jumped into law through wash-up - when it was pointed out to him that the Liberal Democrats didn't, he stuttered that they supported the general principle, as if that was the same thing.

When David Babbs from 38 Degrees raised the question of the risk of public web services being hit by the law - clearly talking about internet cafes and services like coffee shops with wifi - Taylor dealt with this point by ignoring it completely and talking about "technical measures" which "householders" could use to "secure their connection" - again, it's unclear if he really didn't understand the difference between 'protecting a home network against someone sitting outside in a car downloading files through an unlocked connection' and 'a public wi-fi service that would be useless if it had to be locked down to stop people accessing it', or if he was deliberately confusing the two. Neither option is particularly edifying.

In the topping of his call to trust the idea of legislation being chucked together as MPs pack their bags, though, was his reassurance that we don't need to worry about customers being targeted unfairly, as Ofcom would be drawing up the rules and overseeing how they work.

That's alright then. It's not like the man likely to be the next Prime Minister has effectively announced that the Tories intend to junk Ofcom and build a new, light-touch regulator. Apart from perhaps being told that nothing bad would happen without Stephen Byers saying it was alright, I can't think of a less reassuring piece of reassurance.