ORG parliamentary and policy update/2013-w10

< ORG parliamentary and policy update

Intro and date.

Official Meetings

Jim Killock met with Stella Creasy MP, Naomi Long MP and Mark Lazarowicz MP about the Communications Data Bill.

Peter Bradwell attended an event in the European Parliament celebrating EDRi's 10th anniversary. Speakers at the event included the Vice President of the European Commission Viviane Reding, offering her congratulations to EDRi on their growing influence stating 'EDRi's continuous support is crucial to make sure that the fundamental right to data protection is properly protected in our European Union.'

On Thursday Peter took part in a seminar at the Ministry of Justice on 'pseudonymous' data and the Data Protection Regulation.

Consultations and Departments

Communications Data Bill private meetings

The Home Office continue to have private meetings on the Bill with groups who gave evidence to the Joint Committee. ORG believes this does not meet the recommendation the Committee made for consultation on the basis of detailed proposals so have called for organisations and individuals to ask for a consultation, made easy by using this form, which emails the Home Office.

Appointment of the Biometrics Commissioner

On Monday, 4 March the following ministerial statement was laid by the Secretary of State for the Home Department Theresa May MP (House of Commons) and Lord Taylor (House of Lords):

'I am pleased to announce that I am appointing Mr Alastair MacGregor QC as the new Commissioner for the Retention and Use of Biometric Material ('Biometrics Commissioner'). The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 ('the Act') introduces a new, fairer, regime for the destruction, retention and use of biometric material, such as DNA and fingerprints. This important new role is created by the Act to provide independent oversight to the operation of the new regime and is vital to ensure that decisions by the authorities to keep biometric material are made in accordance with the law, and that there is public confidence in the exercise of such powers.'

'The functions of the Biometrics Commissioner are set out in sections 20 and 21 of the Act. As Commissioner, Mr MacGregor will be the sole decision maker in reviewing decisions to retain material for national security purposes and in determining applications made for the retention of material relating to individuals arrested but not charged. He will make an annual report about the carrying out of all these functions, which will be laid before Parliament.'


Procurement: Public Administration Select Committee

The PASC is conducting evidence gathering sessions looking at government procurement of goods and services, including IT systems.

Government Bills

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill Copyright Debate

The House of Lords discussed the Bill on the third day of Report stage, including some discussion of copyright related amendments.

According to the BIll's page on the Parliament website 'line by line examination of the Bill took place during the third day of the report stage on the 6 March.

Topics discussed of particular interest to the ORG included:

  1. Metadata and Licensing; The removal of information from a digital file
  2. Judicial review threat
  3. Orphan works and extended collective licensing

A fourth day of report stage is scheduled for 11 March, when further discussion of the copyright related amendments is likely.

Debates and Questions

Communications Data Bill Question

Julian Huppert MP (Cambridge, Liberal Democrat): to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department Theresa May MP (Maidenhead, Conservative), how many BAE Systems Detica staff (a) are currently working on and (b) have previously worked on the Communications Capability Development Programme.

Julian Huppert MP: to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what support BAE Systems Detica has provided to her Department in (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011, (d) 2012 and (e) 2013

Julian Huppert MP: to ask the Secretary of State for the home Department, whether her department holds a contract with BAE Systems Detica to provide support to the Communications Development Programme.

Digital Economy Act Question

Therese Coffey MP: to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP when he expects his Department to consent to the laying of the draft Implementation of the Online Infringement of Copyright (Initial Obligations) (Sharing of Costs) Order 2012.

Sajid Javid MP, in response, stated that:

'The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has responsibility for the draft Implementation of the Online infringement of Copyright (Initial Obligations) (Sharing of Costs) Order. The Order will therefore be laid at a time determined appropriate by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, following cross-Government clearance. The original scheme commencement date of 1 March 2014 has not changed.'

Default-on Internet Filter Question

Diane Abbott MP (Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Labour): to ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will require internet service providers to introduce a default opt-in filter system for access to adult content on the internet.

Cybersecurity Question

Chinyelu Onwurah MP (Newcastle Upon Tyne Central, Labour): to ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude MP, what recent assessment he has made of the financial effect of cybercrime to the (a) economy and (b) consumer.

Chinyelu Onwurah MP: to ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to assess the effect of cybercrime.

Communications Data Bill Question

Katy Clark MP (Ayrshire North & Arran, Labour): to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who she has met on revisions of the draft Communications Data Bill.

Katy Clark MP: to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what documents explaining the details of the revised draft Communications Data Bill her Department has prepared and published.

International Developments

Gambia: African Commission Adopts Model Law on Access to Information

Following on from the adoption of Resolution 167 (XLVIII] on “Securing the Effective Realization of Access to Information in Africa,” The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information Faith Pansy Tlakula initiated 'the process of developing a model Access to Information Law in Africa'.

The UN Special Rapporteur was quoted saying 'The Model Law gives specific guidelines in terms of form and content of the legislation passed at the domestic level'. According to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights the objectives of the Act include:

(1) The objects of this Act are –

(a) to give effect to the right of access to information as guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to— (i) any information held by a public body or relevant private body; and (ii) any information held by a private body that may assist in the exercise or protection of any right;

(b) to establish voluntary and mandatory mechanisms or procedures to give effect to the right of access to information in a manner which enables persons to obtain access to information of public bodies, relevant private bodies and private bodies as swiftly, inexpensively and effortlessly as is reasonably possible;

(2) In keeping with the duty to promote access to information, public bodies, relevant private bodies and private bodies are obliged to keep and maintain information in a form and manner that facilitates the right of access to information.

(3) It is a further objective of this Act, generally, to promote transparency, accountability, effective governance and development by, empowering and educating everyone to understand their rights in terms of this Act.

The Model Law will officially be launched on the 11th April 2013 during the 53rd Ordinary Session to be held from the 9th-23rd April 2013.

European Union

European Parliament vote on blanket porn ban

The European Parliament, on Tuesday 12, will vote on a report as ZDNet states 'could lead to a blanket ban on pornography in any form of media, not limited to advertising, television, and radio, but also the web.'

Pirate Party member Christian Engstrom MEP according to cnet 'blew the whistle on his fellow political colleagues after they had complained to the parliament's IT department that they were receiving vast numbers of e-mails from the very people they represent.' After emails stopped being received it was found out that 'The IT department of the European Parliament is blocking the delivery of the e-mails on this issue.' The block was labelled an '"absolute disgrace" and that the European upper house views input from its citizens "as spam." He noted that he will be writing a letter to the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, about this "totally undemocratic practice."'

European Parliament discussing Data Protection Regulation

Another Committee in the European Parliament is gearing up to vote on its opinion on the proposed Data Protection Regulation. The Legal Affairs Committee (also known as JURI) will vote on 18th March.

The proposed new regulation would give citizens significantly stronger data protection rights, but has come under intense lobbying that may see the proposal weakened. For more information see our latest blog.

Law and Legal Cases

ECJ ruling on TV live streaming

The European Court of Justice has held that unauthorised TV live streaming breaches copyright. According to The Guardian 'Websites that retransmit live TV over the internet without permission from broadcasters are in breach of copyright, Europe's highest court has ruled in a judgment with wide ranging implications.' The landmark ruling 'means that dozens of sites showing live TV in the UK, including the London-based, must now get rights clearance from broadcasters.'

ORG Media coverage

Jim Killock appeared on Channel 4 News talking about Amazon's republishing of third party t-shirts using the word 'rape' and other offensive word combinations. See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

ORG contact details

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