ORG parliamentary and policy update/2014-w40

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Hope everyone enjoys this week's parliamentary update. It's been a great pleasure working at the ORG for the past year! Thank you for all the fun times, all the support and all the doughnuts.

And thank you all for your continued support and subscription. The parliamentary update will continue bringing you all the latest political and policy developments in the world of digital rights, especially nearing the general elections in May 2015.

Ευχαριστώ πολύ!


This is ORG's Parliamentary and Policy Update for the week beginning 29/09/2014

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

Official Meetings

There were no official meetings this week.

Consultations and departments

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

Welsh Internet domains to go live on Tuesday

Following the introduction of Scottish domains (.scot) in July, domains ending in .cymru and .wales will be launched on Tuesday. The domains will be available for purchase in November for businesses and March 2015 for the wider public.

Dame Rosemary Butler AM presiding officer of the National Assembly of Wales, said "A .wales/.cymru brand will be an enormous help to Welsh organisations as they strive to make their voice heard around the world." (The Guardian)

Government Bills

Copyright exceptions for parody and format shifting finally come into law

See our website for an official press release and a blog post by our Legal Director, Elizabeth Knight.

Amendments to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, meant to come in effect on 1 June 2014, were delayed after the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Lord Younger, announced their delay a month later. The delay was announced as the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments (JSCSI) wanted further discussions about the exceptions.

The new exceptions allow consumers to make private copies of media (ebooks, music, movies etc) they've purchased. However, it is still illegal to make copies of media for third-parties, such as family and friends.

The Intellectual Property Office have published guidance on the new exceptions.

Debates, questions and speeches

Question on number of communications warrants applications, mentioned by Home Secretary

David Davis MP has asked a question concerning the Home Secretary's lecture, in which she referred to 20 cases dropped by the National Crime Agency (13 of which were "threat-to-life" cases involving children) due to lack of access to data. The Home Secretary used this example as a way of highlighting the need for a Communications Data Bill (also known as the 'Snoopers' Charter).

Mr Davis asked how many communication warrants were applied for in those cases and how many requests were rejected by telecommunications companies.

James Brokenshire MP replied "Where the Single Point of Contact in a law enforcement agency knows that data is not held by the service provider in question, they will not process a request for the data in the first place (as it would not be an appropriate use of their powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000)" (Hansard).

European Union

Parliamentary question on next steps in Google antitrust case

European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, has answered a question on the next steps in the ongoing case against Google. The search engine company has been under investigation by the European Commission for their unfair practices.

The Commission found that Google did not display a fair amount of competitor's specialised services and they use competitors' content in their own specialised services without prior authorisation, among other practices. Google had agreed to make changes for each of the concerns raised.

Ramon Tremosa MEP, asked Ms Vestager if the company would receive a formal Statement of Objections. The Statement is a written statement the Commission is compelled to address to the party, outlining their legal objections, before they make any decisions which will negatively influence the party's rights.

Ms Vestager replied "There will be next steps, but I don’t know yet what they will be concretely. This is a classic case, [Google] is a company with a huge, huge, huge market share and we have complainants of all sizes. I do hope we don’t have to prolong this antitrust investigation with another." (The Register)

Political Parties

Renewed promises from Theresa May to revive 'Snoopers' Charter'

See our blog for a comment by ORG's Executive Director and our website for an official press release.

During a speech in Birmingham, where Home Secretary Theresa May MP spoke of the dangers posed to the UK by terrorist groups, she made promises to introduce the Communications Data Bill into law, if a conservative government won in the next general election (also referred to as the Snoopers' Charter). She accused the Liberal Democrats of working irresponsibly when they blocked the introduction of the bill two years ago. She said "If we do not act, we risk sleepwalking into a society in which crime can no longer [be] investigated and terrorists can plot their murderous schemes undisrupted".

ORG's Executive Director says "Massive data gathering and analysis of your online habits would become available to the police and a range of public bodies. Powers that are currently being challenged in the courts, but are in practice available to GCHQ under programmes like TEMPORA, would become an everyday policing tool".(Guardian)

Conservative government wants to introduce powers which would allow them to ignore European Court of Human Rights rulings

Justice secretary Chris Grayling MP has published plans which would allow the UK to ignore rulings from the European Court of Human Rights. The strategy document, outlining the plan, pledges that the UK will remain a part of the European Convention on Human Rights, but would treat the Court as an advisory body. The plan aims to "restore sovereignty to Westminster".

The Conservative party's former attorney general Dominic Grieve MP said the plans are "unworkable and will damage the UK's international reputation". (The Guardian)

The plans can be viewed in an eight-page strategy paper, available on the Guardian's website.

Commercial Stakeholders

FBI Director voices concern over Apple and Google's new privacy protections

During a press conference, the FBI Director James Comey, said he was "very concerned" over new steps taken by Apple and Google to strengthen privacy protections on mobile phones. Last week Apple announced it would no longer be possible to unlock encrypted iPhones or iPads, for law enforcement purposes. This is because the phones would no longer allow user passcodes to be bypassed.

Mr Comey said "What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law." (Huffington Post).

ORG Media coverage

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.


2014-10-02 - The Inquirer The UK legalises pithy parodies, CD copying, book backups and DVD duplicating
Author: Dave Neal
Summary: Article about the new legislation allowing for the private copying of media with a quote from Jim Killock.


2014-09-26 - The Daily Mail Google denies removing then reinstating MailOnline story about murderous paedophile under controversial 'right to be forgotten' ruling
Author: Thomas Burrows and Steph Cockroft
Summary: Article discussing the removal of a Daily Mail article link by Google's 'right to be forgotten' with a quote from Jim Killock.

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