The Digital Economy Act (DEA) was one of the most controversial pieces of legislation to pass into law in the last few years and continues to generate headlines as key opponents challenge the legislation on a number of grounds.
Throughout its creation many criticised the government for being fed information by rights holders and blindly accepting what they were told without properly consulting with other stakeholders or conducting its own research.
This criticism has now proved to be well founded after a Business, Innovation and Skills Committee meeting provided damning evidence the government merely accepted data provided by rights holder as its only source of evidence for the Act.
Responding to questions from Labour MP Anne McKechin, the head of the DEA implementation team, Adrian Brazier, admitted the Open Rights Group (ORG), one of the most outspoken critics of the Act, was correct to have had concerns.
"It would be reasonable to acknowledge the ORG have something of a point about the evidence used around the DEA. It was somewhat opaque. The impact assessment was not based on new evidence or new research. We had no independent source of information," he said.
"It is probably also fair to say that the evidence we had been offered by the rights-holders [...] they were unwilling to lift the bonnet and let us see the engines, if you like, the workings and methodology."
Brazier went on to say that despite content owners refusing to divulge more information on its data, the government used the information regardless, and Brazier merely offered the excuse that at least the government never claimed it was its data.
"Essentially we were left with trying to make the best brick we could with what straw we could find," he said.
"We never claimed they were government figures. We were clear these were figures that were provided by the rights holders."
The exchange reveals what a shoddy and shameful job the last Labour government did of consulting on a piece of legislation that is going to have a considerable impact on the UK's technology landscape for years to come.
It seems staggeringly inept that those in power not only willingly accepted data provided by firms that would obviously have an agenda but even worse did nothing to source their own data to help create the best possible law for all stakeholders.
In history, it will probably be appraised in politics A-level lessons as a classic example of the arrogance with which a corrupt governing party bereft of any ideas tries to force through legislation completely out of touch with reality, as it staggers towards the end of its final term.
The only thing even more shameful is that the present coalition has done nothing to suggest that this ill thought-out piece of legislation will be repealed.
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