Helen Goodman MP

Helen Goodman MP (Labour) for Bishop Auckland; Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport.

Shadow CMS Minister

As Shadow CMS Minister, under Harriet Harman MP Helen Goodman works opposite Ed Vaizey MP. As such she is responsible for outlining Labour's views on the Digital Economy Act, Communications Bill and copyright enforcement.


Broadband access

May 2013:

A further problem with the Government’s approach is that they have prioritised speed over access. It is significant that the Government’s super-connected cities programme, into which they have poured £150 million, has been challenged by some of the operators on state aid grounds as it is not clear whether the subsidy is needed to develop faster speeds in inner-city areas. At the same time, the Government are allowing a situation to continue in which 10.6 million people have never sent an e-mail and 16 million people have inadequate digital skills. My secretary says that it is quite clear that I am one of those people, but I do not think the problems I face because of my lack of digital skills are nearly as serious as those faced by many of our constituents. When the Government try to make it compulsory to access universal credit online, they will come up against a serious problem as many of the people involved will be precisely those who do not have the access or the skills.[1]

Digital Economy Act and disconnection

Helen Goodman has expressed views skeptical of disconnection envisaged in the DEA, and also worries about the accessibility of DEA appeals if a £20 charge is applied. Nevertheless, she and Labour are pressing for its implementation.

From the Intellectual Property Bill debates:

I completely agree with the hon. Gentleman that education must be part of that strand, but I am uneasy about switching off the internet because, for example, the 12-year-old little sister of a 16-year-old who illegally downloads pop music might be unable to upload her school home work. That does not seem to be the right way to go about dealing with the problem. But if the governing party wants to charge into criminalising every teenager in the land—well, that is an election opportunity for them.[2]

Child Safety Online

Helen Goodman is concerned about child safety online. She argues that it is not always straightforward for people to organise child protection in their own home computer, and therefore default network blocks should be mandated for UK ISPs.

She advocated default network-level adult content filters in a Daily Mail article in April 2012:

Jeremy Hunt is trying to persuade us that his ‘Active Choice’ policy is enough. Under this, four major internet service providers (ISPs) offer new customers the opportunity to opt out of access to pornography. The problem is that this scheme will not reach many customers straight away, and won’t even hit the 90 per cent mark until 2017.
In the meantime sales of TVs with internet access are rising and expected to overtake conventional TVs next year. Then even more children will be one click from the strongest material.
This is why the All Party Group’s recommendation that the ISPs are required to move to an opt-in system for adults to see pornography is sensible.[3]

Online anonymity

Helen Goodman has identified online anonymity as a problem, as it reduces accountability for problems such as online harassment. She argues that it is not always straightforward for people to organise child protection in their own home computer. According to her the internet should not be ‘ like the forest in the 14th century-a place where outlaws run free and unrestrained’ and it should be regulated.

She criticised a Cabinet Office official for advising people to give fake details to websites, on the grounds that this kind of behaviour helped create an environment where people felt able to post abusive comments and behave with impunity.

""It is exactly what we don't want. We want more security online. It's anonymity which facilitates cyber-bullying, the abuse of children. I was genuinely shocked that a public official could say such a thing."[4]

Data protection

We must take effective action to protect people’s privacy and engage much more energetically with the proposals coming from the European Union on personal data.[5]

IP Issues

Hargreaves Review

on the Hargreaves Review, Helen Goodman stated that

Labour endorses the report by Ian Hargreaves on intellectual property. We look forward to the implementation of many of his recommendations.[6]

Reuse of traditional knowledge

She has expressed views that have shown concern about the exploitation of traditional knowledge. She cited the case of Scarborough Fair as an example of reuse of material that did not benefit the community of the original creators.[7] However, Scarborough Fair was and still is in the public domain, and has been recorded by many artists, including several in the UK prior to Simon and Garfunkel. Thus it is hard to see who ought to be rewarded or that Simon and Garfunkel were making any more exploitation than anyone else recording a well-documented and rather old folk song, with a history dating at least 300 years.[8]


E-mail:goodmanh@parliament.uk Tel:01388 603075 Office: 1 Cockton Hill Road, Bishop Aukland, Durham, DL14 6EN