Ben Wallace MP (Conservative) MP for Lancaster & Wyre.
From 2003 to 2005 he was overseas Director of QinetiQ, the UK's part-privatised National Defence laboratory.
During a debate about oversight of the intelligence services:
- Interestingly, I have heard no criticism of the fact that we do not regulate the private sector. No one has expressed fear about that or demanded that we do so. The big capitalist companies in America—the Googles and the Facebooks—harvest our data without a by-your-leave, sell it on and on through intermediaries and make billions of pounds. However, I have not yet heard anyone mention that they all keep their servers offshore to avoid tax. That is the area that needs regulating to protect people.
Communications Data Bill
Called for the reintroduction of the Communications Data Bill following the stabbing in Woolwich:
- "Time for the Lib Dem's to reconsider opposition to Comms Data Bill. Please spare us the armchair 007's. Fighting terror and protecting us is no easy task. Comms data bill is not snooping on all. It is about ensuring the who, what, where, when data is available for investigation. The Lib dems not vital in matters of national security if Labour behave like a pragmatic responsible opposition."
Open Source Software
Signed Early Day Motion 179 Software in Schools 21 November 2006
- That this House congratulates the Open University and other schools, colleges and universities for utilising free and open source software to deliver cost-effective educational benefit not just for their own institutions but also the wider community; and expresses concern that Becta and the Department for Education and Skills, through the use of outdated purchasing frameworks, are effectively denying schools the option of benefiting from both free and open source software and the value and experience small and medium ICT companies could bring to the schools market.
Digital Economy Bill
Contacted by Graham Binns on 2009-11-24
Mr Wallace's contact details are on his website.
- Blog post containing text of initial letter to Mr Wallace.
- Blog post containing Mr Wallace's response.
Mr Wallace's response in full:
Dear Mr Binns,
Thank you for contacting me about the Government's plans to crackdown on illegal filesharing as set out in the November 2009 Queen Speech.
This is an extremely serious issue that costs the creative industries hundreds of millions of pounds each year. It also puts consumers at risk, as those who download illegal material increase the likelihood of their machines being attacked by computer viruses, and are exposed to unverified advertising and inappropriate material. Regrettably, the Government has neglected this crucial area until now and legislation is urgently needed.
As part of the Digital Economy Bill, the Government has finally set out measures to tackle digital piracy. Under the proposed legislation, in the first year of operation persistent illegal filesharers could be issued two warning letters in an attempt to reform their behaviour. If illegal filesharing has not dropped by 70 per cent within this period, then further measures to cut off the most serious offenders' internet connections could also be introduced.
I support measures to tackle internet piracy. However, I share your concerns about the practical implications of the Government's announcements. These proposals fail to answer some critical questions; for example, what criteria will the Secretary of State use before deciding to cut someone off? They also fail to suggest incentives for technical solutions that prevent or deter people from illegal file-sharing in the first place.
Whilst my party are happy to consider the use of technical measures against the most extreme offenders, we believe this should be a last resort. Conservatives advocate the use of more educational programmes in schools and amongst the general public to educate people on the wrongs of illegal downloading.
Please be assured that my colleague Jeremy Hunt MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, will be following the progress of the Bill closely and Conservatives will continue to press the Government for more details of their plans, and to promote a more educational based solution.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.