Welcome to an improved version of the weekly Parliamentary Update!
A big thank you, once again, to everyone who contributed with their thoughts and views.
In response to your input, we have decided to send the update out at an earlier time and shorten the length of the stories. We have also taken into account your expressed areas of interest and will do more to follow developments in those fields.
Feel free to drop an email with any comments or thoughts.
Have a wonderful weekend
This is ORG's Parliamentary Update for the week beginning 17/03/2014
If you are reading this online, you can also subscribe to the email version.
Jim Killock met with Labour's advisor, Lord Stewart Wood on Friday and with representatives from Google on Monday. He also met with 38 Degrees and with the Web We Want on Wednesday. In all meetings he discussed our mass surveillance campaign Don't Spy on Us.
NSA and GCHQ updates
NSA programme records phone calls and saves them for 30 days
NSA programme MYSTIC has the capability of recording 100% of a foreign country’s telephone communications and storing them for 30 days, according to the Washington Post's reporting. This allows the agency to search their records and replay conversations, up to a month after they take place.
- MYSTIC began in 2009
- The RETRO tool allows users to go back and retrieve recordings of phone conversations. It reached full capacity in 2011
- MYSTIC targets foreign countries and is currently being used against one unnamed country
- RETRO was originally intended as a "unique one-off capability"
- The US's last year's secret intelligence budget named an additional five countries where MYSTIC will be used
Consultations and departments
A full list of open consultations and Parliamentary events can be found on our Events
Further delays to UK copyright reforms
Last week, a minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, confirmed there was to be a delay in the introduction of the new regulations beyond the anticipated date of April 1 2014. The reforms were going to introduce multiple copyright exceptions for personal use (Hansard).
ORG is running a campaign to have the new regulations introduced as soon as possible .
Visit our blog to see an analysis by our executive director, Jim Killock, on the potential effects of a voluntary copyright agreement and a piece by our communications director, Pam Cowburn, on the lack of exceptions for copyright law in the UK.
Culture, Media and Sport Committee publish report on Online Safety
Following the conclusion of their inquiry, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee published its sixth report on Online Safety. The report sought to find how to protect children from adult content, how to filter (by blocking and removing) extremist content and how to prevent abuse on social media.
Here are some of the report’s findings:
- The committee welcomed the introduction of home-wide internet filters and call on all other ISPs to follow suit
- They propose the introduction of legislation to ensure that search engines and ISPs prevent access to child abuse images
- Providers of adult online content should take active measure to prevent underage children from accessing their content (such as age verification)
- Filtering services should eventually allow parents to choose when and what games their children can play
For the full report, you can visit the committee’s page.
Debates, questions and speeches
Question on measures to tackle misinformation from extremist and radicalisation groups
James Brokenshire MP answered a question on measures the UK government is taking to tackle misinformation from extremist and radicalisation groups.
Twitter blocked in Turkey
On Thursday, Turkey blocked access to Twitter, because according to the government’s office the social media website did not respect Turkish court orders. The block comes after a series of leaked recordings, primarily distributed via Twitter, allegedly implicate officials in corruption charges (Financial Times).
EU makes Key vote on Net Neutrality
See ORG’s press release on our website.
On Tuesday, the European Parliamentary Committee on Industry, Research and Energy voted on a series of reforms taking a step towards the consolidation of a telecoms single market. Some of the most important reforms were:
- Abolition of roaming charges by 15 December 2015, to apply to voice, sms and data
- Rule that prevents ISPs from limiting or slowing down the provision of competitors services and applications
- ‘Specialised services’ could be offered better quality for data-intensive applications (high definition TV, video conferencing).
- The specialised services must not slow down or interfere with the internet use of other users.
New directive on copyright management and licensing
The EU has published their “Directive on the collective management of copyright and multi-territorial licensing of online music”, to be implemented by all member states by April 10th. The directive’s aims are to:
- Have more efficient music licensing across the European Union
- Improve access to legal European online music services
- Have higher standards of governance accountability and transparency for copyright licensing bodies
You can view the directive (PDF) online.
In order to become law, the reforms must also be voted by the European Parliament, scheduled to take place in April. You can view the European Parliament’s website for an official press release.
Yahoo makes decision to move offices to Ireland, are summoned by Home Secretary
Yahoo announced plans to move the centre of their European, African and Middle East operations to Dublin. In their new location, they will not have to comply with UK surveillance laws, namely the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 which allows the UK to acquire information on companies servers. Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, summoned the company to express concerns over the potential effect the move will have on criminal investigations (Guardian).
ORG Media coverage
See ORG Press Coverage for full details.
- 2014-04-21 - The Telegraph - The vote to save satire
- Author: Multiple
- Summary: Letter addressed to Business Secretary, Vince Cable and Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger to reform copyright law concerning satire. Signed by Jim Killock