ORG parliamentary and policy update/2014-w23

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This is ORG's parliamentary and policy update for the week beginning 31/05/14.

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Official Meetings

Jim Killock met with the World Development Movement and with War on Want to discuss the Stop TTIP coalition. TTIP, is an abbreviation for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. He also met with Jodie Ginsberg, Index on Censorship's new CEO. He will also be appearing on Sky news at 15:00 today.

Javier Ruiz, had a meeting with the Cabinet Office to discuss Open Data and attended a media conference on Thursday to speak at a session on privacy and media.

NSA and GCHQ updates

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

One year on since first Snowden publications

Last year on the 5th of June, The Guardian and the Washington Post published a series of stories revealing a deep network of global mass surveillance operations conducted by American and British intelligence agencies with the close support of allied countries and telecommunications companies.

See our website for a comment and make sure to watch ORG's documentary with exclusive interviews from Members of Parliament and leading activists in the field of digital rights, commenting on Britain's involvement in mass surveillance. You can watch the trailer on YouTube and make sure to download and seed the torrent of the video too.

GCHQ operating base in Oman, intercepting undersea cables

The Register has revealed that a network of three British bases, operating in Oman, who have been tapping into undersea cables to monitor communications in the Middle East. Two are located near the north of the country, giving them access to the Persian and Arabian Gulf, while the third is located in the south, strategically near Yemen. It had previously been disclosed that GCHQ had been operating a satellite interception base in the country, under the programme of Fornsat, previously known as ECHELON (The Register).

Consultations and departments

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

National Crime Agency issuing warning to businesses and public over new cyber threat

The National Crime Agency has issued a warning to firms running Windows operating systems against GOZeuS and CryptoLocker threats. They say there is a two week opportunity to reduce the threat and pointed companies interested in protecting their businesses to the National Crime Agency's online guidance and to CERT-UK website for more information (

Government Bills

Life sentence for serious cyber attacks in new proposed legislation

During the state opening of Parliament on Wednesday, the Queen announced government plans to make amendments to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 through a Serious Crime bill. In a government fact sheet of the bill published today Friday 6th, it said "The offence will carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for cyber attacks which result in loss of life, serious illness or injury or serious damage to national security"

ORG's Executive Director told the Guardian "If a supposed cyberterrorist endangers life or property, there are existing laws that can be used to prosecute them" (The Guardian).

A full transcript of the Queen's speech is also available online.

European Union

Denmark maintaining Data Retention Directive despite Court of Justice of the European Union

The Danish government issued a 30-page legal response on why the country is going to maintain the Data Retention Directive, despite a ruling by the European Court of Justice declaring it incompatible with articles 7 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (EDRi).

Law and Legal Cases

ORG welcomes new Legal Director

A big welcome to Elizabeth Knight, ORG's Legal Director, who started working with us this week. She will be undertaking a series of legal actions, including work on the Error 451 campaign and the Data Retention Directive in the UK. See our blog for more details on ORG's upcoming work in her own words.

And a big thank you to everyone who made it possible for us to fund this position.

Commercial Stakeholders

Vodafone reveals existence of 'secret cables' that allow government access to all customer conversations

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

Vodafone has revealed the existence of a series of wires that allow governments to directly listen in on the conversations of customers. The company's privacy officer said the UK does not use these direct-access pipes because it would not be permitted by law, access to that information is only available through warrants. The company called for an end to the government's direct access to communications data and an amendment to the laws that allow them to do so.

They're also publishing a 'Law Enforcement Disclosure Report' on how governments in the 29 countries Vodafone operates, monitor conversations and the location of their citizens. The Guardian has published a table from the report on the number of government surveillance requests, ahead of its full publication. There is no information on the number of requests the UK government requested of Vodafone. The report only indicates information that was previously available in the Interception of Communications Commissioner's 2013 report (the Guardian).

Google receives more than 12,000 requests to have their information removed from searches

A day after Google launched their right to be forgotten online form, they received more than 12,000 requests from users who wish to have their information removed from searches on Google (Deutsche Welle‎ ).

ORG Media coverage

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

2014-06-04 - The Guardian - [

Life sentences for serious cyberattacks are proposed in Queen's speech]

Summary: Jim Killock commenting on proposed bill to introduce life penalty for serious cyber crimes.
2014-06-04 - Tech Radar - The Queen wants to throw serious cyber attackers in the dungeon for life
Summary: Quote by Jim Killock comment from Guardian above interview.
2014-06-02 - Russia Today - ‘NSA has just granted themselves another huge power’
Summary: Interview with Jim Killock about the impacts of mass surveillance on privacy.

ORG contact details

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