ORG parliamentary and policy update/2014-w42

< ORG parliamentary and policy update

Welcome to the 42nd Parliamentary and Policy Update, for the October week beginning Monday 13th.

Top Stories:

  • The High Court has ruled in the landmark case of Cartier International AG & ors v British Sky Broadcasting & ors, regarding the ability to grant injunctions against ISPs to block websites involved in trade mark infringement. ORG made a third party intervention.
  • The UN's special rapporteur on counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson QC, published a report responding to global surveillance criticising mass-collection as a law enforcement tool.
  • ISC receives witnesses for its second public inquiry. Nick Clegg suggested action be taken regarding IP matching.

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Official Meetings

Ed Paton-Williams attended a Don't Spy On Us campaign executive meeting, as well as a meeting of the NoTTIP NGO steering group.

Elizabeth Knight attended court for judgment in the case of Cartier International AG & ors v British Sky Broadcasting & ors.

Javier Ruiz met with the Cabinet Office to discuss the next steps in their Data Sharing open policy making process.

Consultations and departments

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

Mike Weatherly MP, the Intellectual Property Advisor to the Prime Minister, has published a 51 page discussion paper in which he recommends actions to counter a growing IP-infringement trend. TorrentFreak has noted developments in Weatherley's advice, having previously suggested that ISPs should be held responsible for pirating users, that search engines should blacklist pirate sites and that persistent file-sharers should be thrown in jail.


Intelligence and Security Committee

As part of the 2014 Privacy and Security Inquiry, only its second public inquiry, the ISC called witnesses to give statements on Tuesday and Wednesday. Among the witnesses called was Jim Killock, ORG's executive director. Home Secretary Theresa May responded to criticism of the opacity of the activites of the intelligence services by noting how it would be conducive to the government's public image to publicise more about the agencies' conduct, yet it was right that the government kept quiet.

IP Matching

During his statements to the enquiry, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also mentioned that legislation requiring IP address to subscriber matching will be seen in parliament shortly:

“IP addresses are not individually matched to mobile devices any more. In effect one IP address is being used for multiple mobile devices at the moment. That's proving very difficult for law enforcement agencies […] there were some notorious cases involving threats to the lives and the welfare of some children, which had recently been the subject of some public discussion, handled by the National Crime Agency, where it's very clear to me having looked at it that the very specific problem according to the National Crime Agency was that they couldn't match the IP addresses to specific devices, that's why they couldn't pursue the leads they had. I think we have to deal with that, and I want us to deal with that and I hope to present to Parliament shortly a legislative change which would deal with that problem.”

Government Bills

Criminal Justice and Courts Bill

The Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, has announced an amendment to the new Criminal Justice and Courts Bill which will specifically criminalise the circulation of private sexual images without the subject's consent, in a manner designed to cause distress. The BBC has noted that: "According to information from eight police forces in England and Wales which kept data on this issue, there were 149 allegations of revenge porn made in the past two and a half years." The bill contains exemptions for journalism, mere conduits, caching and hosting. These exemptions are not included in a separate amendment proposed by several Liberal Democrat peers.

International Developments

UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism

The UN's special rapporteur on counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson QC, published a report responding to the global surveillance revelations brought to light by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, on Wednesday. According to the Guardian, the study 'poses a direct challenge to the claims of both [the US and British] governments that their bulk surveillance programs, which the barrister finds endanger the privacy of “literally every internet user,” are proportionate to the terrorist threat and robustly constrained by law.'

Free Trade Agreements

The Intellectual Property Chapter of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) has leaked. The TPP is a proposed trade agreement being negotiated between Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and several other countries. Early analysis of the chapter seems to show that surveillance of Internet users by ISPs will increase with the intention of supporting copyright holders.

European Union

Free Trade Agreements

Ed Paton-Williams has written a blog post about TTIP - a proposed trade agreement between the USA and the European Union.

Law and Legal Cases

Cartier Ruling

ORG's intervention in the landmark case of Cartier International AG & ors v British Sky Broadcasting & ors had a significant impact on the ruling handed down on Friday by the High Court in London.

In particular the judge:

  • accepted ORG’s submission that the orders should be required to have safeguards against abuse, and that this was a requirement which had been missed by the other parties (para. 191);
  • adopted ORG’s concrete proposals about the information to be included on landing pages and “sunset clauses” as safeguards against abuse (paras. 262 to 265); and
  • thanked ORG for its “brief, moderate and helpful” written submissions, which were “sensibly” not opposed by the other parties (para. 7).

Our press release, featuring a comment by ORG Legal Director Elizabeth Knight is here.

ORG Media coverage

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

Jim Killock was interviewed by Russia Today.

David Allen Green was quoted by Bloomberg in their article regarding the Cartier case, on ORG's intervention into the proceedings.

ORG contact details

Staff page