Feeds

E-commerce law update includes ISP hate speech exemption

Dispensation granted for 'mere conduits'

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The Government has published Regulations that will absolve internet service providers (ISPs) and other digital service providers of responsibility for religion or sexuality-related hate speech transmitted over their networks.

The E-Commerce Directive protects service providers from liability for material that they neither create nor monitor but simply store or pass on to users of their service. The Directive is implemented in the UK by the E-Commerce Regulations.

In 2008 the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act extended the offence of stirring up hatred on the grounds of religion to include the stirring up of hatred on the grounds of someone's sexuality. That Act amended 1986's Public Order Act.

The change to the Public Order Act required a new set of Regulations reflecting that change in the exemptions enjoyed by service providers. The Government's draft Electronic Commerce Directive (Hatred against Persons on Religious Grounds or the Grounds of Sexual Orientation) Regulations contain those changes and will replace 2007's The Electronic Commerce Directive (Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006) Regulations.

"Articles 12 to 14 of the [E-Commerce] Directive require the UK to limit, in specified circumstances, the liability of intermediary service providers who carry out certain activities essential for the operation of the Internet, namely those who act as 'mere conduits' and those who 'cache' or 'host' information," said a Government explanatory note to the proposed Regulations.

"In the Government’s view there may be scope to argue over whether conduits, caches and hosts could ever have the necessary intent to stir up religious hatred or hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation and so Regulations 5 to 7 of these Regulations create specific exceptions from liability for the new offences for mere conduits, caches and hosts in the circumstances set out in the Directive and reflected in the E-Commerce Regulations," it said.

"In practice, intermediary service providers are very unlikely to be liable for the offences because of the requirement for intent. However, the 2007 Regulations clarified the position regarding the liability of conduits, caches and hosts in respect of the religious hatred offences. That aspect of those Regulations, which these Regulations revoke and replace, was considered by intermediary service providers to be of real significance," said that explanatory note.

Copyright © 2010, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.