Digital Economy Act 2017

The Digital Economy Act 2017 contains sections relating to content filtering by “Internet Service Providers” (ISPs) and “Internet Access Providers” (IAPs). However both terms are derived from (and subsets of) the European definition of Public Electronic Communications Services, so will not apply to Janet or customer networks that are not available to members of the public. This means we can continue to choose filtering policies and technologies that are appropriate to the needs of research and education organisations, rather than having imposed solutions designed for domestic connections.

For any readers who do offer public connectivity, or are otherwise interested, the parts to look at are as follows:

  • Part 3 (Sections 14 to 30) of the Act allow the Age Verification Regulator (expected to be the British Board for Film Classification) to maintain a list of material that any ISP served with a notice is required to block (s.23); the Regulator may further prescribe how such blocking is implemented.
  • Section 104 ensures that content filtering and site blocking, for these or other reasons, is lawful so long as it complies with the terms and conditions for access to the network. This clarifies that provisions for IAPs in the European Network Neutrality Regulation do not make voluntary blocking unlawful.

By Andrew Cormack

I'm Chief Regulatory Advisor at Jisc, responsible for keeping an eye out for places where our ideas, services and products might raise regulatory issues. My aim is to fix either the product or service, or the regulation, before there's a painful bump!

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