These are the responses from the three candidates to the open letter I sent last night. First the conservative, who deigned to visit upon my inbox all manner of HTML goodness (that’s sarcasm, I hate HTML formatted emails):Dear Mr Browne
Thank you for your email. I’m afraid I’m not too well up with IT! However, I regret the fact that this Bill was rushed through the Commons with little time for us to scrutinise and debate it. I therefore hope that we can return to this matter after the election and look forwrd to doing so. But for now, thank you for letting me have your views.
Laurence Robertson The Conservative Party Candidate
The Green Party response was sent in a plaintext email (thankfully!):Dear Christopher
Thankyou for bringing these issues to my attention.
I am pleased to say that the Green Party propose laws that diminish, not
increase, copyright and intellectual property rights.
I agree with you that the powers brought in by the Digital Economy Act
represent an infringement of civil liberties, and I would oppose use of
these powers for that reason.
Of course, whilst criminals and abusers profit from cyberspace, measures
must be taken to protect the rest of us from their malicious use of it.
Achieving a balance between civil liberty and civil security is always
difficult, and I must confess that I am no expert on the matter. All I feel
prepared to say on this is that we should always be on guard against
'mission creep' in security measures, and be vigilant in safeguarding ourt
Were I elected I would join with others to vigorously oppose powers that
remove people from internet use in response to copyright violation. I feel
that this sets an alarming precedent.
Finally, here is the response from Alistair Cameron, the Liberal Democrat candidate (multipart/alternative mime type):Dear Mr Browne,
Thank you for contacting me about the Digital Economy Act and a number of of related issues.
We have been highly critical about the so called “wash-up” process which has enabled this Act to pass with limited Parliamentary scrutiny before the General Election. The “wash-up” of the Digital Economy Bill was essentially a carve up between the Labour and Conservative parties that ignored Liberal Democrat arguments to consult more widely before introducing a measure to introduce web-blocking for copyright infringement. Liberal Democrats voted against the Bill at 3rd Reading in the House of Commons and against the Labour and Conservatives web-blocking amendment in both the Lords and the Commons.
Liberal Democrats remain to be convinced about the necessity for technical measures, which could include disconnection from the internet. Liberal Democrats were successful in getting the Government to agree to a period of at least a year in which no technical measures can be considered and then to undertake a process of rigorous analysis and consultation into the need for any such measures. We also believe that the music, film and other content industries must work more urgently to develop easy and affordable ways for people to legally access their products.
The recent Liberal Democrat conference in March voted to establish a party working group to look into further detail about the issues raised by the Act.
You raised a number of related questions about the internet, cyber crime and cyber terrorism. I will need more time to get back to you with a considered response to these questions.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate
I’ll let you decide for yourself which is your favourite response.
The open letter is released under the same license as this entire blog (Creative Commons Share and Share Alike Attribution Non-commercial license). The responses hold views that belong to the indicated parliamentary candidates; I accept no responsibility nor liability for their views. On request from the owner or a person legally representing him/her, I will remove a response. I have not edited and will not edit any of the responses for any reason whatsoever.