This is ORG's Parliamentary Update for the week beginning 30/09/2013
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On Monday this week Jim Killock spoke at an event at the Conservative Party Conference, organised by Big Brother Watch, looking at PRISM and mass surveillance.
Javier Ruiz attended the Freedom not Fear conference in Brussels, alongside many fellow European digital rights activists. This weekend Javier is in Rome attending a W3C conference on digital identity.
Consultations and departments
New Joint Cyber Reserve to protect UK national security
Philip Hammond MP, Defence Secretary, has announced the creation of a reserve capability, the Joint Cyber Reserve, which would help defend the UK's national security. The Reserve will provide support to the Joint Cyber Units of Corsham and Cheltenham.
Department for Communities and Local Government, No CCTV cameras for illegal parking.
Community Secretary, Eric Pickles MP, has said that councils are to stop using CCTV cameras to crack down on illegal parking. According to the government, static and car mounted cameras have issued fines totalling £301m in the last five years. The change is said to come before Easter.
Public Administration Select Committee oral evidence submission
On October 8, the Public Administration Select Committee is accepting oral evidence for their inquiry on Statistics and Open Data. Those attending are Professor Helen Margetts, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford and Dr Ben Worthy, Lecturer in Politics, Birkbeck College, University of London; Tom Steinberg, Director, MySociety and Heather Savory, Chair, Open Data and User Group. The inquiry is for a part government study on the use of statistics. The submission on the 8th of october is for the sixth study in the series focusing on statistics and open data.
'Supporting the Creative Economy' Culture, Media and Sport Committee Report published
On September 26, the CMS Committee published a report following an inquiry for which ORG submitted oral and written evidence. The report covers a wide range of issues on how to support the creative industries; the following are notable points concerning copyright.
-Criticising Google's inaction against copyright infringement, despite the creative industry's requests. The report calls on Google to block consumers from reaching copyright-infringing websites and to ideally remove them from their search engines as they do with other illegal material.
-Acknowledging Open Rights Group dedication to freedom of expression on the internet.
- The assertion that business relies on the 'appropriate' collection of personal data to target advertising and that this does not constitute a great threat to privacy. They consequently express concern for the draft European Data Protection Regulation, stating that it “could damage direct marketing, internet advertising, and the UK economy both off and online”.
This report comes as the European Commission is looking to create a unified European Regulation on Data Protection, currently being discussed by the LIBE committee. The Regulation would ideally limit the ability of large businesses to collect user data with the purpose of targeted, personalised advertising. However, due to renewed delays on the progress of the legislation, there is an increased concern it will be more lenient regarding restrictions of collecting user data.
- Rejecting the Hargreaves report because it employed a low standard of evidence for determining copyright policy, and because they concluded the report was wrong about the benefits it claims for UK copyright law.
You can find ORG's extensive critique here.
Culture, Media and Sports Committee inquiry into online safety, written evidence submission
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee finished accepting written evidence for the Online Safety inquiry on Monday 30th. The inquiry is aiming to examine aspects of internet safety, such as, the prevention of abusive material on social media, the filtering of extremist material and the prevention of minors accessing adult content. ORG has also submitted evidence, that can be found on our website.
Private Members Bills
Debates and questions
Minister for Crime and Security keynote speaker at ISPA conference
James Brokenshire MP, will be the keynote speaker for the ISPA (Internet Services Providers' Association) Annual Conference on 27th November. The conference will focus on the future of the internet industry and discussions will include the role of ISPs in 'moderating' the internet. As a supporter of the Communications Data Bill it would be interesting to hear his comments on the future involvement of ISPs on the internet.
Security Networks need to be redesigned
The president of anti-virus giant McAfee, Michael DeCesare, has suggested that businesses will have to promptly redesign their network security in order to catch up with the rapidly advancing capabilities of hackers.
First EU-wide study on contribution by intellectual property intensive (IPR) industries
The EU Patent Office in partnership with the Office for Harmonisation In The Internal Market, have completed a study looking into the contribution of intellectual property intensive industries in the European Union. The purpose of the study was to support policy-making and “form a basis for raising awareness among Europe’s citizens about the value of intellectual property.”. Among the study's findings was that 26% of all jobs in the EU are directly linked to IPR intensive industries and that 50% of all EU industries are IPR intensive. According to the study, these industries account for 39% of total economic activity (GDP) in the European Union. The Internal Market and Services Commissioner, Michael Barnier commented “I am convinced that intellectual property rights play a hugely important role in stimulating innovation and creativity, and I welcome the publication of this study”.
First European Cyber Security month
ENISA, the European Network and Information Security Agency, in partnership with the European Commission's DG CONNECT, has announced the launch of the first European Cyber Security campaign due to last a month. During this month, 40 public and private stakeholders will promote online security in 25 participating countries. You can find a list of all UK-based events here.
Completion of WIPO Assemblies
The World Intellectual Property Organisation assemblies ended on Wednesday evening. Among the key points agreed was a commitment to make legal amendments to ensure that the IT and legal framework of the Hague evolve in sync.
Free Trade Agreements
Law and Legal Cases
ORG launches legal challenge against GCHQ
The Open Rights Group has joined forces with Big Brother Watch, English PEN and internet campaigner Constanze Kurz to challenge the UK government's surveillance and data collection programme. Initially a letter was sent to the government, asking them to acknowledge their authorisation of unlawful practises and to commit to seek consultation on future transparent laws. The response was a refusal and a redirection to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. However, we decided the most effective set of action would be to appoint this case to the European Court of Human Rights. For a breakdown of the facts and updates, visit Privacy not Prism.
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ORG Media coverage
Following See ORG Press Coverage for full details.