ORG parliamentary and policy update/2014-w22

< ORG parliamentary and policy update

Parliament concluded the 2013-2014 parliamentary session on the 14th May and will launch the 2014-2015 session with the Queen's speech next Wednesday on 4th June.

Most government business has since been put on hold, but until then, here are some domestic and international news stories to enjoy:

Top Stories:

This is ORG's Parliamentary Update for the week beginning 26/05/14

If you are reading this online, you can also subscribe to the email version.

Official Meetings

Javier Ruiz met with the Cabinet Office on Thursday to discuss data sharing. View our blog for more information on the meeting and how the government intends on sharing data.

Consultations and departments

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

£2 billion digital alliance with UK and China

The business secretary, Vince Cable, launched a £2 billion Global Digital Media and Entertainment Alliance, with China on Thursday 29th.The alliance means that creative companies from the UK and China are going to benefit from £2 billion worth of trade and investment opportunities, opening the Chinese market for UK companies (

International Developments

Iranian hackers target US officials by creating fake social networking profiles

According to a cyber intelligence firm, ISight Partners, Iranian hackers have been spying on military and political officials from the US, Israel and other countries, by creating false news sites and fake personas on social networking sites. It is not clear if they were working for the Iranian government.

In a three year campaign, the Iranian hackers were seeking credentials to access government and corporate networks as well as intelligence on weapons systems and diplomatic negotiations, by befriending officials. Once a 'friendship' had been established, the hackers would send links to malicious websites that would infect the target's computer with malicious software (Reuters).

US Trade Commission proposes stricter regulations for companies gathering personal information

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (an independent agency with a primary mission to promote consumer protection) has published a report that proposes to Congress the introduction of stricter rules on companies that collect and sell personal information.

The proposed laws will allow consumers to control when and how their personal information gets used for targeted advertising and market analysis. It would also introduce rules that would allow users to opt in and out of data collection programmes. Many of the data brokers, studied in the report, were not giving a clear picture to consumers what information was being gathered and how it would be used (The Register).

The report is available in PDF format online.

European Union

MEP candidates that will protect your digital rights

Last week, the European elections took place across the continent. In the run up to the election, the Open Rights Group, along with 35 other European digital rights organisations, launched a campaign to get MEP candidates to pledge their commitment to protect digital rights. 434 candidates signed on to a 10-point charter of digital rights, 83 of them were selected.

41 of those candidates were elected in the UK. The candidates include Jason Kitcat, member of ORG's Advisory Board; Claude Moraes MEP; Jean Lambert MEP and Keith Taylor MEP.

You can view the complete list of candidates on the We Promise Website.

Germany will not press charges against the NSA for spying on German officials

According to a German media report, German officials won't press charges against the NSA for allegations of spying on their politicians for years, including the Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The media report said there was not enough evidence to move their case forward (The Register).

Commercial Stakeholders

Google introduces removal request form, following European court ruling

Two weeks ago, the Court of Justice of the European Union, ordered Google to remove links from appearing on search results, which were "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed”.

Google has created a webform that would allow people to submit their removal requests. Google is currently working on a set of criteria for a long-term approach to the policy.

On their website they say "In implementing this decision we will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public's right to know and distribute information" (The Gaurdian).

New Facebook app will record and store sound from user's phone

On Wednesday, Facebook announced the launch of a new application that will store sounds from the user's surrounding environment. The purpose, according to Facebook, is to identify songs, television shows or movies and to present them to users as an option to share as visual component of posts.

The company told IB Times that "no sound is stored”, but that they intend to archive the data. They did not respond to whether they will sell data to Facebook microphone app third parties (International Business Times).

ORG Media coverage

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

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