ORG parliamentary and policy update/2014-w28

< ORG parliamentary and policy update

Top Stories:

This is ORG's Parliamentary and policy update for the week beginning 07/07/2014

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

Official Meetings

Jim Killock is attending a meeting with the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) to discuss the government's overblocking.

On Tuesday he attended a roundtable discussion in the House of Commons on HMRC to discuss the lifting of current legal restrictions limiting the HMRC from sharing individual anonymised data.

Javier Ruiz this week has been attending a course on International Copyright Law, held by the Institute for Information Law, Amsterdam.

NSA and GCHQ updates

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

NSA and FBI targeted five prominent American muslims

The Intercept is reporting that after a three month investigation, they have found that the emails of five prominent American muslims were under secret procedures usually intended against terrorists and foreign spies.

The names appeared on an NSA spreadsheet obtained by Edward Snowden titled “FISA recap” which stands for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under the legislation, the American Justice Department have to convince a judge that there is probable cause to believe American targets may be engaged in or abetting espionage, sabotage or terrorism (The Intercept).

Consultations and departments

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

Law Commission publishes findings on understanding of law for data sharing between public bodies

The Law Commission has published their report on "Data Sharing between Public Bodies". The purpose was to examine whether there was a problem with understanding the law relating to data sharing and the consistent application of the law. The Open Rights Group were regular contributors to this report.

More details can be viewed on the commission's website.


Lords Committee inquiry into social media offences accept evidence from Facebook and Twitter

As part of the ongoing enquiry into social media offences, the House of Lords Communications Committee questioned representatives from the Crown Prosecution Service, the Association of Chief Police Officers, Facebook and Twitter.

The questions focused on:

  • measures used by Facebook and Twitter to prevent online exposure to "harassing, threatening or grossly offensive material online" and the options given to users for reporting abuse
  • what is the process of responses to reports
  • how many requests are received from the UK police or courts per month (

You can view the inquiry session on More details on the inquiry into social media offences can be viewed on the parliament website.

Government Bills

Government introduces bill that will maintain data retention, previously struck down by European Court of Justice

See our website for an official press release.

On Thursday, the Home Secretary Theresa May MP announced the introduction of a Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill that will order Internet Service Providers to continue retaining communications data, despite a ruling by the European Court of Justice in April that found the Directive, incompatible with the treaty on fundamental rights.

The Bill was announced on Thursday 10th July and is scheduled to go through all stages in the House of Commons by Thursday 17th July. The stages a bill goes through are an initial debate of the bill; a committee stage which includes the detailed examination of the bill and in most cases the submission of evidence by experts and interest groups; the report stage where MPs are given the chance to introduce proposals and finally the third reading of the bill, where members of parliament are given a final chance to debate all the clauses of the bill.

Our Executive Director said "The government is tacitly admitting that our current data retention laws are illegal and that they are required to re-legislate. The European Court has ruled that data retention should be limited and blanket retention cannot be justified because it interferes with our right to privacy."

The original Data Retention Directive required communications service providers to gather and store their customer's information (including phone calls, e-mail communication and web browsing). David Cameron MP said "we need to legislate very rapidly to keep those powers and capabilities intact. The time to debate what more we need to do, we have agreed, will have to wait for the future"(BBC).

The Bill has the support of the three largest parties and will attempt to make it legally clear that the communications companies based abroad, which have communications services in the UK, must also collect specific information.

ORG has launched a new campaign, asking people to write to their MP and delay the progress of the Bill.

You can view a draft of the Bill online and details of the bill on the parliament website.

European Union

Free Trade Agreements

EU trade negotiators host online conversation on ongoing trade negotiations

This morning, EU trade negotiators held a live conversation on twitter about the ongoing trade agreement between the EU and US called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Law and Legal Cases

Annual meeting of Attorney Generals met in London to discuss cyber-crime

The UK's Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC MP hosted an annual meeting from Wednesday 9 July till Friday 11th with the Attorney Generals of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA. Mr Grieve said "We will look at how we can collectively help one another to present a coordinated and united front against those who would wish to abuse what is predominantly a force for good" (

Commercial Stakeholders

Google creates Advisory Council to help with implementation of 'right to be forgotten'

Google has created an Advisory Council to help with the implementation of the 'right to be forgotten'. The Council will hold consultation in Europe in the autumn that will be streamed live and recorded. On their website they say "We want to strike this balance right. The Council will also be accepting consultations from government, business, organisations with particular interests (

Members of their Advisory include Jimmy Wales (founder of wikipedia); Frank La Rue (outgoing UN Special Rapporteur for the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression) and Lidia Kolucka-Zuk (Executive Director of Trust for Civil society in Central and Eastern Europe). You can view more details on the members of the council on Google's website.

ORG Media coverage

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

2014-07-10 - ITV Rights Group: Blanket surveillance needs to end
Author: Unknown

Summary: Short write up on an ITV segment with a quote from Jim Killock

2014-07-10 - The Guardian Emergency surveillance legislation is stitch-up, campaigners say
Author: Rowena Mason
Summary:Write up of how the surveillance policy is being rushed through with quotes from Jim Killock.
2014-07-10 - UK government faces potential legal action if data retention practices are not ended
Author: Unknown
Summary: The legal affects and repercussions of governments plans to push through surveillance legislation in contradiction to the ECJs ruling, with a quote from Elizabeth Knight
2014-07-10 - The Telegraph Emergency laws to monitor phone and internet records 'to stop terrorists'
Author: Matthew Holehouse
Summary: Article on the passing of the emergency law with a quote from Jim Killock and explicit mention of the Open Rights Group
2014-07-08 - Tech Times Google digs up can of worms by obeying 'right to be forgotten' order in Europe
Author: Joseph Mayton
Summary: Article on Google's decision to allow individuals to request articles to be removed from Google searches with a direct quote from Jim Killock
2014-07-07 - PC Pro Why the government wants new laws on phone data
Author:Nicole Kobie
Summary: A brief explanation of the reasons behind wanting to retain data, with a quote from Jim Killock

ORG contact details

Staff page