ORG parliamentary and policy update/2014-w14

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This is ORG's Parliamentary Update for the week beginning 31/03/2014

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Official Meetings

Jim Killock has been in Scotland this week, meeting with stakeholders to set up ORG Scotland. See our website for more information on ORG Scotland and on details of how to become a founder. Alternatively, if you're already a supporter in Scotland, you can increase your donation.

Pam Cowburn attended the UK Internet Policy Forum on Wednesday.

Javier Ruiz met with the Cabinet Office on Monday to discuss preliminary proposals from the Office to improve data sharing among government departments. On Friday he met with the Office of Public Sector Information, at the Ministry of Justice to discuss the disposition of the European Union directive on the reuse of public sector information in UK law.

NSA and GCHQ updates

See our full list of the Guardian and Snowden’s revelations.

GCHQ spied on German satellite communications companies

New documents report that British intelligence agency, GCHQ hacked into the systems of three German satellite communications providers, Stellar, Cetel and IABG. According to the documents, the purpose of the mission was to gain "in-depth knowledge of key satellite IP service providers in Germany". The surveillance was carried out in stations operated jointly with the NSA, in Cornwall.

The purpose was to monitor the type of traffic going through the networks and to identify key customers using the communications and key employees, particularly engineers.

The documents show that the NSA received a warrant from United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court) to monitor Germany in March 2013. While the documents do not reveal the scope of data collection permitted by the warrant, the FISA Amendments Act permits for a blanket surveillance of a foreign country's population "without submitting individual cases for review" (DER SPIEGEL).

Consultations and departments

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

City of London police create list of copyright infringing sites to discourage advertising

The City of London Police have launched an "Infringing Website List" that will be shared with advertising agencies to encourage them to block advertising on those sites. The list is maintained by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and groups within the entertainment industry. The move is made with the hope of "disrupting revenues of infringing sites worldwide"(Torrent Freak).

Launch of Computer Emergency Response Team

On Monday, the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-UK) was launched. As part of the National Cyber Security Strategy, the team's focus will be to :

  • Act as a point of engagement for international partners
  • Run security exercises with industry and government representatives
  • Support companies and provide them with critical infrastructure
  • Work with industry and academia to improve UK cyber security and to manage incidents in national cyber security(

Debates, questions and speeches

Under Secretary of State for Intellectual Property responds to Open Rights Group campaigning on copyright

Lord Younger sent a letter to the Open Rights Group in response to our campaign on copyright and private copying. The letter comes as last week the government released a series of amendments to copyright law and parody (to be approved by the Houses of Parliament). ORG in response called on our supporters to email their MPs and ensure the amendments are approved.

Lord Younger acknowledged a large volume of letters received.

View the letter on our website.

Cabinet minister speech on cyber security

The minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude spoke at a conference on Monday about the importance of cyber security. These are some interesting points raised in his speech:

  • Cyber security breaches have tripled in the last year, with the average cost of each ranging from £450,000 to £850,000
  • The global cyber security market is growing more than 10% every year
  • The government's goal is to export £2 billion worth of products and services by 2016. Last year's exports was £850 million
  • The government has published a new series of standards "working with industry on minimum standards and principles", allowing companies to advertise the fact that they meet the criteria
  • A Cyber Security Suppliers scheme has launched. Qualifying businesses can use an exports badge to show that they supply cyber products and services to the UK government.

Full speech available at

Question on the testing of drones in Gatwick

Tom Watson MP asked a question about the Aeration SkyRanger (a small unmanned aerial system, otherwise known as a drone) based in the Gatwick area.

The minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, Damian Green MP, said the purpose was to see whether the systems could be used to police Gatwick airport (Hansard).

International Developments

America promises to strengthen European citizen's data

In a joint EU-US statement, released last Wednesday 26th, the US pledges to reach an agreement by summer 2014 to introduce new safeguards for the protection of European data protection. Industry input and details of the safeguards are not yet clear (Europa).

European Union

European Parliament Net Neutrality vote, scraps roaming charges, prohibits preferential treatment of services

See ORG's Press releases and our Executive Director, Jim Killock in the Telegraph, commenting on the vote outcome.

On Thursday 3 April, the European Parliament voted on a series of proposals further enshrining Net Neutrality. The proposals belong to the Connected Continent package, legislation that seeks to achieve a European telecoms single market.

The Parliament voted to:

  • End roaming charges across Europe for calls, sms and data, by December 2015
  • Limit the ability of ISPs to promote Web-based services that have a negative effect on "the availability or quality of standard internet access services"
  • Prohibit ISPs from blocking rival services (such as WhatsApp or Google Drive)

To become law, the proposals need to be voted by the Council of the European Union (also known as the Council of Ministers). The final agreements are expected to come at the end of 2014 (European Parliament News).

See for an official video statement from European Commission Vice President and European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes

ORG Media coverage

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

2014-04-03 - International Business Times - MEPs Vote To Scrap Roaming Charges Across EU by 2015
Author: David Gilbert
Summary: Quote from Jim Killock and mention of Open Rights Group stance on Net Neutrality legislation

2014-04-03 - Techweek Europe - European Parliament Backs Net Neutrality And An End To EU Roaming
Author: Steve McCaskill
Summary: Quote from Jim Killock on European Parliament's Net Neutrality vote.

2014-04-03 - The Telegraph - EU votes to protect Google and Netflix from telecoms charges
Author: Christopher Williams
Summary: Quote by Jim Killock on European Parliament Net Neutrality vote

2014-04-02 - The Guardian - Tech Weekly Podcast: Jim Killock on why UK online culture is no joke
Author: Aleks Krotoski
Summary: Podcast with Jim Killock, discussing the benefits of the recent proposed copyright exceptions

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