LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – The 2002 E-Commerce Regulations provide a number of exemptions to internet service providers (ISPs) for all liability, including where the ISPs are acting as hosts or mere-conduits, or where they cache data. However, these exemptions only apply to laws that were passed before the date that the E-Commerce Regulations were made.
The Terrorism Act 2006 includes a number of offences for which website operators and ISPs could be liable, including encouraging acts of terrorism and disseminating terrorist publications. There is a requirement under the Act to take down illegal material from a website when instructed to do so by a police constable, otherwise the website operator and ISP are regarded as having endorsed any illegal statements or conduct. There are some defences available in the Act, but none as far reaching as those offered by the 2002 E-Commerce Regulations to other criminal offences found in earlier legislation.
To address this issue, in June 2007, the government issued the Electronic Commerce Directive (Terrorism Act 2006) Regulations 2007. These Regulations create exceptions from liability for offences under the Terrorism Act 2006, including the dissemination of terrorist information, where ISPs act as mere conduits, caches or hosts of information.
However, the 2007 Regulations also extend the “country of origin” principle to the Terrorism Act, meaning that UK ISPs can now be liable for the conduct and statements of their users, even if all of their services are directed to and provided in other European countries and not to the UK.
For further information about the new Regulations, please click here.