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Lib Dems vote for pirate-friendly 'one-speed net'

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Liberal Democrats yesterday passed a motion approving the party's radical new internet policy – including a technically-challenged proposal to make all internet traffic flow at one speed.

That should make Skype calls interesting...

The IT policy threatened legislation "to provide a level playing field – where traffic flows at the same speed".

Julian Huppert, the bearded bicycling MP for Cambridge (and former UN Youth organiser) is behind the new policy, chairing the party's IT working group. We interviewed Julian last month – a conversation memorable for his insistence that the UK doesn't have any toll roads.

The Lib Dems are also making a bid to steal the Pirate Party's trenchcoats: they voted to suspend the copyright powers of the Digital Economy Act, sections 3 to 18, immediately. That leaves the junior Coalition partner without a policy to enforce copyright online.

A pirate utopia – yarr! – is surely now within reach.

But first it must be explained to a sadly unenlightened public – two-thirds of whom never infringe copyright online. Polls indicate that the majority of voters see internet piracy as a Law and order issue, not a civil rights crusade, and consistently back stiffer punishment for repeated online copyright infringement.

(See here and here).

So obviously there's a bit of explaining to do.

“Tackling piracy is important, but it shouldn’t be seen as an end in itself," said Huppert after the vote, in a press release.

The new party policy isn't backed by senior Lib Dem party sources – whom we spoke to on condition of anonymity – the government, or the two ministers responsible for implementing the DEA: Jeremy Hunt and Ed Vaizey.

Huppert debated former Undertone Feargal Sharkey, now chairman of music umbrella group UK Music, in Birmingham today. ®

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