ORG policy update/2016-w42

This is ORG's Policy Update for the week beginning 17/10/2016.

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ORG's work

  • ORG has produced three videos outlining problems with the DEBill. Watch Pam Cowburn explaining problems with data sharing, Myles Jackman talking about age verification and Jim Killock on copyright.
  • We have been working on some amendments for data sharing this week.
  • ORG has been putting together evidence of website blocking Claire Perry MP asked for last week during the oral evidence session attended by Jim Killock.
  • ORG Aberdeen is organising a Cryptonoise meeting on 27 October. Learn how you can protect yourself online.
  • ORG London is putting on a group outing to see the new ‘Snowden’ film. Join us for an exploration into how mass surveillance violates our rights to privacy and free speech.
  • ORG Cambridge is organising their monthly meet up on 1 November to discuss the current state of digital rights, what they've done in the past month and what they are planning to do in the upcoming month.
  • ORG London is organising a meeting on 7 November on Digital Dystopias: Orwell’s 1984 and the Internet Age. We will be discussing surveillance and totalitarianism in literature.
  • Tom Chiverton (Local Organiser for ORG Manchester) will be giving a talk at the Festival of Social Science on how technology can be used in communities and activism. The event will take place on 11 November in Manchester. You can find out more here.

Official meetings

  • Jim Killock attended a meeting with Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property.



The Report stage of the IPBill concluded this week. The Bill is due to move on to the Third Reading on 31 October.

This week’s Report sittings showed yet again strong opposition from Liberal Democrats and barely any from Labour.

Lord Paddick introduced an amendment to remove the ‘request filter’ from the Bill on the grounds of it being too vague a concept and its operation lacking independence from the Home Office. The proposal was not supported by Labour Lords and was opposed by some backbench Lib Dem peers. Lord Paddick pressed the amendment to a vote; the proposal to remove the request filter from the Bill was defeated jointly by Conservative and Labour Lords.

The same pattern of support and opposition occurred when Lords discussed amendments by Lord Paddick and Baroness Hamwee to remove Internet connection records from any notice requiring the retention of communications data by telecommunications operators and to remove bulk acquisition warrants for Internet connection records.

To read full transcripts of both Report sittings this week, follow these links:

Second Day (17 October)

Third Day (19 October)

Julian Huppert and Lord Paddick both explained this week in more detail why opposition to the IPBill is still necessary. Jenny Jones criticised the lack of Labour opposition.

The IPBill is scheduled to have its Third Reading in the House of Lords on 31 October.


The Committee stage for the DEBill continued this week in its fourth, fifth and sixth sitting.

The Committee first discussed the Digital Infrastructure part of the Bill and moved onto Online Pornography during the sixth sitting. Copyright provisions are due to be discussed next week.

During the discussion of online pornography provisions, the Committee agreed that on-demand services offering pornographic materials should also be subject to age verification as well as ancillary providers (including social media websites). The discussion returned to who should be considered ancillary provider numerous times (search engines, ISPs).

Louise Haigh raised the issue of process of appeal for websites that should not be blocked or not require age verification but have fallen through the cracks. Haigh introduced a series of new amendments that would require the new age-verification regulator to specify what data and to what extent the age verification system can obtain. Labour’s concerns for the security of identity data were met with a partial dismissal from Claire Perry MP arguing that most of this type of personal data is already out there and could be obtained by others.

This week, members of porn industry together with ORG’s Myles Jackman organised a protest, Kink Olympixxx, against age verification for 18 and R18 rated materials. Jim Killock explains in a follow-up blog why age-verification system for porn websites is a very flawed idea.

The data sharing part of the Bill has been subjected to some criticism this week. Louise Haigh, the Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy, outlined Labour’s position on the Bill saying that the Government is merely tinkering around and not responding to some of the very important challenges of digital economy.

The Committee is still accepting evidence until 27 October. The guidance on how to submit written evidence can be found here. The full list of submitted written evidence is available here.

The Committee will continue to scrutinise the Bill next week on 25 and 27 October.

Appointment of the Director General for Digital and Media

The Government appointed the first Director General for Digital and Media who will be based in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Matthew Gould will be generally responsible for making sure the UK has the world-class connectivity it needs, helping build digital ecosystems and working to create an innovation-friendly and cyber-secure country.

Question on the European IPO

Catherine West asked the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the UK plans to continue with their participation in the European Intellectual Property Office after Brexit takes place.

Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Education, responded that after leaving the EU, UK businesses will still be able to apply to the European Intellectual Property Office for EU Trade Marks and Registered Community Designs.

Question on liability of IoT device manufacturers

Chi Onwurah MP asked the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment has been made of the manufacturer liability for simple internet-connected devices (camers, televisions and domestic appliances) in the event of such devices being hijacked or cyber attacked. Onwurah further enquired how consumers can make a claim against the manufacturer for compensation.

Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital Policy, responded that manufacturers of Internet-connected devices should make sure their technology is secure by design. Consumers who have concerns about their personal information being compromised can raise a concern with the Information Commissioner's Office.

Other national developments

IPT ruling

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled in a case brought forward by Privacy International last year that the government intelligence agencies failed to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. MI5, MI6 and GCHQ collected everyone's communications data without adequate safeguards until November 2015.

The Tribunal ruled that
“we are not satisfied that… there can be said to have been an adequate oversight of the BCD system, until after July 2015”.
Furthermore, no codes of practice relating to bulk communications data or bulk personal datasets were in place to regulate the use of bulk powers by the intelligence agencies.

Theresa May, then Home Secretary, only revealed to the House of Commons in November 2015 that security services had been intercepting bulk communications data of UK citizens for years.

Privacy International continues to argue that the surveillance regimes established by intelligence agencies remain to be inadequate despite the Tribunal finding them lawful. They said regarding the surveillance regimes:
“It facilitates the almost instantaneous cataloguing of entire populations’ personal data. It is unacceptable that it is only through litigation by a charity that we have learnt the extent of these powers and how they are used.”

London police to wear body cams

Metropolitan police officers will be equipped with body-worn cameras in the upcoming months. More than 22,000 officers across 32 London boroughs will be issued with body cams.

The initiative was started to help bring about speedier justice for victims. This practice proved to be successful especially in domestic abuse cases and resulted in an increase in guilty pleas from offenders who were aware of being recorded.

The cameras are not supposed to be recording permanently and members of public will be notified as soon as practicable that they are being recorded. The deployment should be completed by next summer.


CJEU ruling - IP address is personal data

The European Court of Justice (CJEU) published their opinion in a case referred by the German Federal Court of Justice asking to grant an injunction to prevent websites from collecting and storing dynamic IP addresses.

The CJEU said that dynamic IP addresses can constitute “personal data” and as such giving them protection under EU law. Site operators can only collect dynamic addresses to protect themselves against cyberattacks.

Dynamic IP addresses are assigned to most devices by ISPs; these are designed to change over time. The opinion claimed that dynamic IP addresses can be considered personal data, despite referring inconsistently to one person if a website “has the legal means enabling it to identify the visitor with the help of additional information which visitor's Internet service provider has”.

In this case, the CJEU recognised that the federal German institutions running websites in question may have legitimate reasons to collect IP addresses and were permitted to store them.

The case will return to the German Federal Court of Justice which will make its judgement based on the CJEU's opinion. It seems unlikely the claimant will be granted an injunction in regards to the CJEU's opinion.

International developments

Microsoft fighting US Government access to its servers in Ireland

The US Department of Justice asked a US federal appeals court to reconsider its decision allowing Microsoft to deny authorities access to data stored on their servers in Ireland.

The legal dispute started with US authorities requesting access to information stored on Microsoft servers in Ireland related to a narcotics investigation. The case holds wider implications for consumer privacy and international relations. The US government claims that the precedent set by the court's decision will endanger national security.

The US appeals court has no obligation to respond within specific time. If it declines to rehear the government's arguments, the US government will likely take the case to the Supreme Court.

ORG media coverage

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

2016-10-13-Inverse-At a weird moment in its long history, England is turning its gaze – and CCTV cameras – inward.
Author: Lauren Razavi
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on underlying issues with surveillance.
2016-10-16-Torrent Freak-Lawmakers Warned That 10 Year Sentences Could Apply to File-Sharers
Author: Andy

Summary: Jim Killock quoted on the evidence presented to the Public Bill Committee on the Digital Economy Bill.

2016-10-17-IP Pro The Internet-UK’s 10-year sentence is ‘manifestly disproportionate’
Author: Barney Dixon
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on the evidence presented to the Public Bill Committee on the Digital Economy Bill.
2016-10-18-Guardian-Labour peers under fire for backing expansion of surveillance powers
Author: Alan Travis
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on criticism of Labour for not tabling any serious amendments on the IPBill.
2016-10-18-Boing Boing-UK government proposes issuing Britons with unique porn-viewing ID numbers
Author:Cory Doctorow
Summary: ORG mentioned in connection to the criticism of age verification proposals in the DEBill.
2016-10-18-Broadly-Feminist Pornographers Stage a 'Fisting Volleyball' Protest Outside Parliament
Author: Sirin Kale
Summary: ORG mentioned in connection to the protest against implementation of age verification for pornographic websites.
2016-10-19-Infosecurity Magazine-UK Porn Age Verification Opens Big Privacy Probs
Author: Slack Alice
Summary: ORG mentioned in connection to the criticism of age verification proposals in the DEBill.
2016-10-19-Vice-Watching your porn
Author: David Gilbert
Summary: ORG mentioned in connection to the criticism of age verification proposals in the DEBill.
2016-10-19-Joe-The government wants to give us ID numbers to watch porn
Author: Joe
Summary: ORG mentioned in connection to the criticism of age verification proposals in the DEBill.
2016-10-19-Boing Boing-Digital Defenders: a free open-licensed booklet for kids about privacy and crypto
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: ORG mentioned in connection to a kids' booklet about privacy that was created in collaboration with other EDRi members.
2016-10-19-Computer World-UK's porn age verification proposal outrages privacy advocates
Summary: ORG mentioned in connection to the criticism of age verification proposals in the DEBill.

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