Google has hit out at the Digital Economy Bill, with specific criticism for the controversial Clause 8 which gives governmental powers to block websites that are 'likely to be used' for infringing copyright.

Clause 8 was criticised in the House of Commons as the bill was passed on for a third reading in the House of Lords before it is rubber-stamped as law.

The Liberal Democrats and Labour MP Tom Watson – who fiercely opposed the bill's shortcomings – argued against the clause which 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".

Fall foul

Google was put forward by the Lib Dems' Don Foster as an example of a website which could feasibly be considered to fall foul of this woolly wording, and the company has indeed made its feeling known.

"The proposals to introduce website blocking - now included in Clause 8 - have escaped proper scrutiny," said an official statement from Google.

"They were introduced 24 hours before a crucial vote in the House of Lords, without a full debate over whether such a policy is right in principle.

"We absolutely believe in the importance of copyright, but blocking through injunction creates a high risk that legal content gets mistakenly blocked, or that people abuse the system."