Digital Britain Report: first glance

The Digital Britain Report was published on 16 June 2009. I only got time to look at it quickly recently because this is one of the co-op AGM seasons.

At first glance, it misses the mark. It doesn’t do anything to unlock Digital Britain and make us a more sharing and social place. From failing to open the 3G mobile networks to the Phone Co-op and other operators completely (they describe it as already being “highly competitive” – haven’t they visited a South West “notspot”?), through the unnecessary increase in protection for Star Wars’s foreign owners, right down to the continued support for Adobe on the report download site instead of third-sector-produced pdfreaders.org, it looks like the report won’t stop us being “Digital Divide Britain”.

I also have my suspicions about the effect of the “DAB-only from the end of 2015″ decision on our community radio companies, but I’ve not been active in that sector for years and there’s a further consultation about that.

Ultimately, “the Government believes piracy of intellectual propert for profit is theft and will be pursued as such through the criminal law” is the killer phrase in this report. The concept of being allowed to file-share without payment doesn’t even appear in the same section. I’ve been warning about these “New Enclosure” attempts for years: I didn’t expect the Digital Britain report to be such a leap towards them.

I think many of these problems could have been avoided if digital production cooperatives had been included in the preparation of this report in any significant way. I feel it has been captured by the private sector and a few trading funds, to the detriment of the nation. Shouldn’t we expect better from a Labour and Co-operative government?

What did you think of the report? What else am I missing? Seen any good reviews of it for free software fans or cooperators?

m4s0n501
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