ORG parliamentary and policy update/2014-w24

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This is ORG's Parliamentary and policy update for the week beginning 09/06/14.

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

Official Meetings

Jim Killock and Elizabeth Knight met with the legal team from Liberty and Privacy International to discuss a joint action plan for an intervention in the UK's implementation of the Data Retention Directive, found incompatible on April 8th 2014 by the European Court of Justice. Jim Killock also attended a workshop organised by the School of Computer Science from the University of Birmingham titled 'Security and privacy in society; Solving the surveillance conundrum'

Javier Ruiz co-chaired a workshop on open data and privacy on Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th, hosted jointly with the Open Knowledge Foundation, attended by a variety of people ranging from domestic and European NGOs to the Information Commissioner's Office.

NSA and GCHQ updates

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

Panel for independent review into surveillance implications in the UK announced

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) has announced the composition of the review panel that will be responsible for the 'Independent Surveillance Review'. The Review is intended to look into the effectiveness and implications of surveillance practices in the UK. It was announced in March by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP. Members of the panel include ORG's very own Advisory Council member Professor Heather Brooke (RUSI).

Consultations and departments

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

IP crime Unit publishes report on scale of IP crime

The IP Crime Unit has published their annual report on IP crime and government action. Some interesting points of the report were:

  • Analysis of 206 computers purchased in 11 countries with pirated software, found that 61% were infected with dangerous malware.
  • In 2013 more than £174 million of counterfeit and illicitly traded products were seized by police across the world.

The Intellectual Property Office has asked whoever is interested in a full copy of the report to follow the IP Crime Group on Twitter @ipcrimegroup. However, you can view a highlight report online (PDF).

Private Members Bills

Online Safety bill (2014-2015) completes first reading, explanatory notes published

The Online Safety Bill (2014-2015) has completed its first reading in the House of Commons. The first stage is simply a formality that signals the start of the bill's journey through the House of Lords.

Explanatory notes to the bill have also been published, outlining its main intentions. Some of its key points are described as "to require internet service providers and mobile phone operators to provide an internet service that excludes adult content; to require electronic device manufacturers to provide a means of filtering internet content".

The explanatory notes are available online (PDF).

You can keep an eye on the bill's page for more information.

Debates, questions and speeches

Theresa May says government has failed to explain importance of mass surveillance and calls for revival of snooper's chart

The Home Secretary Theresa May MP, has said that the government has failed to convince the general public of the importance of mass surveillance. she said "individual privacy and mass surveillance by the security services had become a much more salient question for the public in the last year or so". She also stated the need to revive the Communications Data Bill, struck down last year by Nick Clegg MP, in order to safeguard the police and security services capability to access communications data (The Guardian).

Minister for Cabinet Office announces new IT 'red lines'

Francis Maude MP, the Minister for the Cabinet Office gave a speech at the Connect Conference in Edinburgh, where he spoke about digitalising the public service.

He said there were five principles for public sector reform, the fifth of which was "digital by default". He also that in an attempt to encourage small and medium sized enterprises, they have outlined a series of new IT 'red lines' :

  • no IT contracts allowed to exceed £100 million
  • new hosting contracts won't last more than 2 years
  • no automatic contract extensions
  • disaggregation of system integration

You can read more of the speech at

International Developments

Microsoft refuse to turn over customer e-mails held overseas

Microsoft is refusing a US government warrant to turn over their customer's details, held in overseas servers. The warrant issued in December, asks the company to turn over e-mails held in a data centre based in Ireland, for a case relating to a drug-trafficking investigation.

Microsoft filed a legal brief last Friday, outlining their objections (ArsTechnica).

You can view their brief online (PDF).

European Union

European Commission publishes guidelines on the 'Right to be forgotten' ruling

The European Commission has published a set of guidelines for the 'Right to be forgotten' ruling, explaining some of the key issues regarding the ruling and preceding case.

They also indicate the Commission's intent to push for data protection reform (Europa PDF).

Commercial Stakeholders

Nominet changes rules; domain owners receiving compensation will have address displayed

Nominet (company managing the .uk registry) has made a change to their rules that mean domain name owners will have their home addresses displayed. Under previous rules, site owners could choose whether they wanted to opt-out of displaying their address online. However, now only "non-trading individuals" can choose to opt-out of displaying their address. According to the new policy, those include people who "do not use or plan to use (your) domain name for business, trade (such as pay-per-click advertising, etc.) or professional transactions" The Guardian).

ORG Media coverage

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

2014-06-12 - Bloomberg - Managing Your Digital Past
Summary: Interview with Jim Killock on the public's right to "be forgotten" online.

ORG contact details

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