ISPs lose Digital Economy Act judicial review

Illegal filesharing

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have lost their judicial review against the Digital Economy Act (DEA), it was confirmed this morning.

BT and TalkTalk launched the challenge against the controversial legislation - designed to tackle illegal filesharers back in November 2010. They claimed they should have been notified under the EU Technical Standards Directive of the bill before it was passed in the wash-up phase of the last Government.

They also claimed it went against the EU Electronic Commerce Directive and the EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive, in addition to infringing a number of pieces of human rights legislation.

However, the judge presiding over the review in the High Court Mr Justice Kenneth Parker has dismissed the claims this morning, saying the directives had not been breached.

A spokesperson from BT sent IT PRO a statement, concluding it was disappointed for the outcome but hinting the fight may not yet be over.

"We are reviewing this long and complex judgement," the statement read. "Protecting our customers is our number one priority and we will consider our options once we have fully understood the implications for our customers and businesses."

"This was always about seeking clarity on certain points of law and we have to consider whether this judgment achieves these aims."

Peter Bradwell, campaigner at the Open Rights Group, added: "It is important to remember that this is not a judgement on whether the Digital Economy Act is good public policy. We still believe that if enacted the Act will hurt people's privacy and access to the internet for no proven gain."

"We hope that BT and TalkTalk will appeal and we will support them if they do."

The Government said it was happy with the outcome and the department for media, culture and sport tasked with handling the DEA released the following statement:

"We are pleased that the Court has recognised these measures as both lawful and proportionate. The Government remains committed to tackling online piracy and so will set out the next steps for implementation of the Digital Economy Act shortly."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.