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:
- New creative industry partnership between UK and China.
- Iranian hackers create fake social networking profiles in attempt to befriend and extract information from government officials.
- Facebook announces new app that will collect and store sounds from user's environment.
This is ORG's Parliamentary Update for the week beginning 26/05/14
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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 (GOV.uk).
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.
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.
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
The media report said there was not enough evidence to move their case forward (The Register).
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.