ORG parliamentary and policy update/2013-w46

< ORG parliamentary and policy update

This is ORG's Parliamentary Update for the week beginning 11/11/2013

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Official Meetings

Jim Killock was in Brussels for meetings organised by the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Global Network Initiative, both discussing mass surveillance and the Snowden revelations.

Peter Bradwell was in Brussels on Tuesday for a discussion in the European Parliament about copyright and text and data mining. On Wednesday morning he attended a workshop run by the World Economic Forum and LSE Media Policy Project, discussing principles for a healthy creative digital economy.

Javier Ruiz attended the second meeting of the UK coalition organising a national campaign led by NGOs against mass surveillance.

Consultations and departments

A full list of open consultations and Parliamentary events can be found on our here

Sky responds to ORG's questions about default filtering

In July, ORG sent a series of questions to Internet service providers asking them how they are going to implement the default filtering settings, outlined by David Cameron's speech on cracking down on making the internet safer. You can view more details on the answers on our blog.


Final evidence session for Online Safety inquiry

The final evidence session for the Online Safety inquiry will be held this coming Tuesday 19. This is part of an inquiry set up by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. The last session will focus on social media, regulation and Government policy. You can view the committee's page for more information.

Government Bills

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing bill being discussed in House of Lords

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill is currently in the committee stage in the House of Lords. During the committee stage, every clause must be agreed on and all amendments are voted on. The House of Lords will then publish their report on the 18 October. The bill includes some provisions that allow electronic devices to be confiscated and duplicated at ports and airports.

Debates and questions

Debate in House of Lords for supervision of security services

Last Thursday 7th of November, the House of Lords had a short debate on government plans to change the supervision of security services. It was held on the same day as the open evidence session with the security chiefs The debate was organised by Lord Soley of Hammersmith who stressed the importance of reviewing the capabilities of the intelligence agencies with the development of new technologies. The discussion was split equally between those who were mainly in favour of the current oversight and those who believed they were inadequate. There were also positive mentions of Edward Snowden and the Guardian for publishing this information. You can view the debate online or read the transcript on Hansard.

Question on Department of Culture and internet governance

A question has been asked on how the Department for Culture, Media and Sport co-ordinates with other governmental departments for the creation of internet governance policy. Helen Grant MP, answered that the department chairs a cross-Whitehall group that organises internet governance at an official level. She also added that minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries is a member of an Ad Hoc ministerial group on cyber, which runs cross-governmentally.

International Developments

Draft Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement chapter leaked

Wikileaks has published a draft chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), an economic agreement between 12 pacific-rim countries. The agreement has been under negotiation since 2010, and aims to improve trade relations between the signatory countries. The negotiations have been highly secretive, making the leaked intellectual property rights chapter all the more important. The leaked chapter reveals some alarming information, the relevant points can be summarised as the following:

  • Extending copyright terms and lowering global standards on paternability
  • Urging governments to give ISPs legal incentives to track down and punish copyright infringers
  • Placing the creation of temporary files under copyright rules
  • Extend the terms of patented medicine to beyond 20 years
  • Include surgical methods in patent agreements

The chapter can be accessed on the Wikileaks website. An interesting feature of the draft is the citation entries next to each recommendation that reveal which countries oppose and promote the motions.

Google publishes updated transparency report

Google has published their updated report on user data requests. The data reveals that the number of requests has doubled since July 2009. The country that has made the most requests is the USA followed by India. Google commented that although the number of government requests has increased, the company is responding to a smaller number of requests over time. This report has also included the different methods the government uses to request data, such as wire tap orders, or requests to monitor communications in real time.

Action to mobilise support for 'Right to Privacy' draft UN resolution

Open Rights Group along with six other digital rights organisations is preparing a mobilisation action to support "The right to privacy in the digital age" draft resolution, submitted by Germany and Brazil to the UN General Assembly last week. The resolution seeks to create concrete measures that will protect and ensure that privacy rights are not violated.

As the motion will be voted on in the coming weeks, ORG and other digital rights groups want to ensure that the resolution is not watered down during negotiations. We are calling on mps to write to the Foreign Secretary to ensure a strong participation by the UK. We are also calling on the supporters of the 13 Principles to take action. More detailed information on our activities will be available next week.

European Union

European Commission open hearing

As part of the European Commission's open consultation on the PSI Directive, there will be a public hearing held in Luxembourg on Monday 25th November. The hearing will be an open discussion on the revised directive guidelines.

Fake LinkedIn profiles used to infiltrate Belgacom

Leaked documents from 2011 suggest that GCHQ infiltrated Belgacom employee’s computers by using fake copies of their LinkedIn profiles. Belgacom is a Belgian telecommunications company that is partially owned by the Belgian government. Initial publications by Edward Snowden in July, revealed that GCHQ had infiltrated their systems under the code name Operation Socialist.

Group of MEPs make move for copyright reform

A group of three MEPs hosted an event last Tuesday to discuss progress on the reform of the European Copyright Directive. Last December the same group of MEPs, joined by another three, sent a letter to the head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, to call for reform of the outdated directive. The event intended to create momentum for action.

Amelia Andersdotter, Swedish MEP and one of the event's organisers, said the directive needed reform because of its ambiguous language and inapplicability. In her own words "Those who make use of culture – file-sharers, DJs, libraries, schools – live in a constant state of uncertainty (...)It’s really difficult to find out what the freedoms and rights are of those who use culture."

Law and Legal Cases

ISPs ordered to block movie-streaming sites

ISPs have been given a court order to block two more movie streaming sites SolarMovie and Tubeplus. The big five internet service providers that were given the order were BT, Sky, O2, Virgin Media, EE and TalkTalk.

Political Parties

Conservative party removes documents from the last 10 years

The conservative party has deleted every article, speech and press release made before their election. The documents deleted include pledges and commitments. They removed the links from their websites and performed a Robots.txt file which prevents them from being searched by Google and the Internet Archive. However, since the mid 2000s, the British Library has been archiving all publications, making all speeches and articles accessible from their website.

The party responded that the 'clearance' was to make their website easier to search.

ORG Media coverage

2013-11-15 - Guardian - Conservatives remove WebCameron from YouTube
Author: Alex Hern
Summary: quote from Jim Killock
2013-11-13 - Guardian - WikiLeaks publishes secret draft chapter of Trans-Pacific Partnership
Author: Alex Hern and Dominic Rushe
Summary: quote from Peter Bradwell

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

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