ORG parliamentary and policy update/2014-w19

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This is ORG's Parliamentary Update for the week beginning 05/05/2014

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Official Meetings

Jim Killock is meeting with Marco Biagi MSP from the Scottish National Party today and attended a Breaking the Frame conference last weekend.

Javier Ruiz is meeting with the Cabinet Office and with members of the HM Revenue and Customs to discuss data sharing.

NSA and GCHQ updates

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

Norway acquires supercomputer to manage large amounts of surveillance data

Disclosures of NSA files, obtained by security service contractor, Edward Snowden, reveal that the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS) has purchased a 'supercomputer' that will have the ability to store large amounts of data collected through mass surveillance. The documents show that while the computer has not yet been delivered, the NIS in cooperation with the NSA are also developing decryption software. (Dagbladet Nyheter).

Consultations and departments

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

Delay to private copying and parody exceptions

See our website for an official press release.

Yesterday, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Lord Younger, released a statement announcing the delay of two Statutory Instruments (otherwise known as secondary legislation) that would legalise private copying and parody exceptions. Lord Younger said the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments (JSCSI) has "some questions about the private copying and parody exceptions that they would like to discuss with us (…) It is likely to mean these two SIs are implemented later than 1 June 2014."

The rest of the SIs (exceptions to the Public Administration, Disability, and Research, Education, Libraries & Archives) are scheduled to be discussed in the House of Lords on Wednesday 14 May. This delay means that the two SIs must first be scrutinised by the JSCSI before they can be voted on by Parliament. (The Register)

You can view a more detailed analysis of this topic by our Executive Director, on our blog.

HMRC to remove overdue tax payments directly from bank accounts

Plans to allow the HM Revenue and Customs to directly remove any overdue tax payments from taxpayers bank accounts have been condemned by the Treasury Select Committee.

The Treasury department says they would only remove money if four requests had been ignored, if the amount due was over £1,000 and if the remaining amount in the account after the removal was more than £5,000. (The Guardian).


Home Affairs Committee report calls for reform of RIPA and intelligence and security current scrutiny committee

An all-party parliamentary committee has released a report largely criticising the current system of oversight and accountability of Britain's intelligence and security agencies (The Guardian). They call for:

  • A reform of the Intelligence and Security Committee which will also allow for the election of the committee's members and the appointment of a chairman that belongs to the largest opposition party.
  • Complete overhaul of the "part-time" and under-resourced system of oversight commissioners.

More specifically, the report stated "The current system of oversight belongs to a pre-internet age, a time when a person's word was accepted without question. What is needed is a scrutiny system for the 21st century, to ensure that sophisticated security and intelligence agencies can get on with the job with the full confidence of the public."

You can view the full report on parliament's website.

Government Bills

Proposed reforms to protect patients data, rejected in House of Lords

Two sets of proposals that set out a series of safeguards to protect patient's data when given to third parties (as proposed in the programme) were rejected in the House of Lords on Wednesday.

One of the rejected proposals was to limit the secondary use of patient's data to the provision of care and biomedical and health research (The Register).

Commercial Stakeholders

ISPs to send warning letters to suspected copyright infringers

According to the BBC's reporting, Internet Service Providers are to start sending out "educational letters" (starting from 2015) to internet users, suspected of pirating content. The deal is thought to be struck between ISPs and the British music industry (BPI) and the Motion Picture Association (MPA) (BBC).

ORG Media coverage

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

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