The Internet Services Providers' Association (ISPA) has warned that the Digital Economy Act must not force internet service providers (ISPs) to censor content on their networks.
The organisation has urged the government to consider the impact of the legislation on ISPs when it starts being enforced early next year, and to ensure that it is fair and proportionate.
"The industry's reaction to the Digital Economy Act has been quite varied, so we've tried to bring those differing opinions together to provide a balanced opinion on how measures that could be imposed on ISPs could affect the industry, " said an ISPA spokesman.
"With Ofcom currently consulting on how the act will be enforced under a code of practice in time for January 2011, we want to make the government, including Ofcom, aware of the concerns and issues in the industry on how this should be best implemented."
ISPA also said it believes that the cost of the systems and processing needed to censor content should be based on a beneficiary pays principle, rather than being split between rights holders and ISPs on a 75 per cent to 25 per cent basis, as the government has suggested.
The industry group made the call as part of a wider "roadmap" unveiled today, which is aimed at getting the government to take a more proactive role in internet issues. These include incentives for improving the UK's broadband infrastructure, educating citizens about online security and the adoption of IPv6.
"We are not setting any specific aims or goals with the roadmap, but we want the government to work on a number of issues, such as providing incentives for private investment in the broadband network, and removing regulations that hinder new builds," the ISPA spokesman said.
"Similarly, the government could help with the rollout of IPv6 protocols by specifying the technology in any tenders it puts out, while it should work closely with industry and law enforcement agencies to promote online safety more actively."
ISPA also said that the government must ensure that the business environment is right for investment for technology firms, and welcomed the announcement that it will invite tenders from SMEs for IT contracts.
The spokesman added that the government needs to better educate its various departments on internet policies, as the group often comes across what it describes as very fragmented knowledge of policy relating to online issues.
"It is crucial to the development of the economic and social position of the UK that the government takes a positive stance on key issues relating to the internet," the spokesman said.
The government held an industry day last week to discuss ways in which ISPs could help address the growing digital divide in the UK, particularly in rural areas.
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