TorrentFreak reports that the UK government passed the controversial Digital Economy Bill, by a vote of 189-47. In an effort to crack down on digital piracy, the bill features a clause that allows the Secretary of State for Business to block
"a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright.”
Many members of parliament were outraged that such sweeping legislation could be passed so quickly and carelessly. Graeme Lambert, the Pirate Party UK candidate for Bury North, said,
"It was painfully obvious to anyone watching the broadcast from Parliament this evening that any MP that only turned up for the divisions and not the debate does not care about the views of their constituents, does not care about democracy and does not care about the future of Britain’s digital economy."
This is a huge blow to the file sharing movement in the UK, as this bill gives the government the ability to block traffic coming from any site deemed to be associating with file sharing services that host copyrighted material.
Finance secretary Stephen Simms, in defense of the clause, cites the £1 billion loss the digital arts industry suffers every year as reason enough to crack down on copyright infringement.