ORG policy update/2016-w46

This is ORG's Policy Update for the week beginning 14/11/2016.

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ORG's work

  • ORG has launched a petition against censorship of legal content on erotica and pornography websites. Our petition is a response to a proposal from several MPs to block websites which don't comply with age verification. Blocking websites is a disproportionate, technical response to a social issue. Sign our petition and reject proposals for censorship of legal content in the UK.
  • We released a new video to go with our petition. You can watch MPs calling for censorship of legal content here.

Planned local group events:

  • Come to the first of our series of talks given by members of the ORG Hampshire community. We'll be kicking off on 22 November with a session on Open Data what local datasets already exist, what's wrong with them and what we can do to help.
  • Come along to ORG Birmingham's free Mozilla Maker Party on 22 November to make illicit digital culture with artist Antonio Roberts and learn more about what you can do to achieve real, progressive changes in copyright.
  • ORG Aberdeen is organising a Cryptonoise meeting on 24 November. Learn how you can help to protect your rights in a digital world. You do not need to be a tech wizard to attend.

Official meetings

  • Pam Cowburn attended a meeting at the Department for Education regarding collection of pupils' personal information.
  • Javier Ruiz and Jim Killock attended a meeting at the Cabinet Office regarding DEBill amendments on Codes of Practice for Data Sharing.

Parliament

IPBill

The Investigatory Powers Bill completed all its parliamentary stages in both houses on 16 November. The Bill is now awaiting Royal Assent and is expected to become an Act of Parliament before the end of 2016 and before sun sets on DRIPA.

The IPBill went back to the House of Commons on 15 November where the situation from last week was repeated again. Labour MPs argued for including amendments on press regulation by Baroness Hollins in the Bill. The Government’s majority pushed for the amendments to not be part of the Bill.

When the Bill reached the House of Lords again on 16 November with explanation from the House of Commons why they rejected the amendments, Lords finally agreed to their changes.

The IPBill was scrupulously scrutinised throughout its passage by civil society groups. A coalition of privacy campaigners, Don’t Spy On Us, said in a statement that
“The UK Government has failed to respond to widespread public dismay over secret mass surveillance revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. The Bill will not only put into statute the capabilities revealed by Snowden but extend surveillance even further.”

The passage of the IPBill lacked opposition from Labour. Thus the Bill, soon to be the Investigatory Powers Act, in its final form will still have an immense effect on our right to privacy, right to freedom of expression, investigative journalism, the security of the Internet and intelligence sharing.

There remain several legal actions that will have an impact on the Bill. The UK’s legal bulk surveillance regime is being challenged in two cases at the ECHR and the data retention is being questioned in the UK and EU courts in the Watson challenge. Both courts could place further demands for safeguards and restraints on the UK surveillance regime.

This week Baroness Jones looked at what impact surveillance powers in the IPBill and the Trump presidency could have on people’s lives in her blog.

DEBill

The Report stage for the DEBill has been set for 28 November. A list of amendments due to be debated can be found here.

One of the most worrying amendment proposals submitted thus far is the amendment supported by a cross bench group of MPs regarding ISP blocking of non-compliant erotica and porn websites. This proposal is a deeply disproportionate measure. At the moment, MPs’ proposal does not have the Government’s backing. However, there is a possibility that Tory and Labour MPs will come together and defeat the Government; especially since Labour tabled a very similar amendment themselves previously.

ORG has started a petition to give to MPs to demonstrate how disengaged from the reality of the Internet this proposal is. You can sign the petition here. You can also watch a video of MPs trying to argue in favour of censorship of legal material here.

The amendment seeks to require blocking of access to pornographic material by Internet service providers. The age-verification regulator (BBFC) will be able to issue notices to ISPs to block access to non-complying porn publishers which will inevitably lead to a form of censorship.

Jim Killock explains in detail why these measures are neither effective nor proportionate.

The whole concept of age verification remains flawed. Just earlier this week there have been reports of a hack of one of the biggest adult websites Adult Friend Finder. Up to 400 million customer logins have been leaked. This instance further illustrates the negative consequences of creating data about porn users.

Question on data protection

Chi Onwurah MP asked the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what is being done to improve consumer awareness of the privacy, security and fraud implications of sharing personal data online. Onwurah followed up with a question asking how people can mitigate such risks.

Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, responded that the ICO is responsible for producing a guidance on information rights. Hancock referred consumers to the ICO's website to find out how to mitigate the risks associated with sharing data.

Question on cybercrime

Marquess of Lothian asked the Government how many additional experts are estimated to be needed to implement the National Cyber Security Strategy. He also asked what is being done to encourage young people to study computer sciences at university level.

Lord Ashton of Hyde responded that the National Cyber Security Strategy for 2016-2020 outlines the government's ambition to deliver a self-sustaining skills to meet the needs for the public and private sector.

Question on national identity cards

Lords engaged in a discussion on identity cards after Lord Campbell-Savours asked whether the Government intend to consult the National Police Chiefs’ Council on the matter.

Baroness Williams of Trafford responded that the Government have no intentions of reintroducing the scheme of identity cards.

Statement on EU-US Umbrella Agreement

Matthew Hancock MP made a statement regarding the Government’s participation in negotiations for the EU-US Umbrella Agreement dealing with the data protection framework for criminal law enforcement operations.

Hancock clarified that decisions on the signature text of the Umbrella Agreement were made by the Council of Ministers before UK Parliament could compete the process of scrutiny on the agreement. The UK voted in favour of the final version of the agreement.

Other national developments

Lauri Love to be extradited

The Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP approved the US request for extradition of Lauri Love. Love faces the accusation of hacking into several US government agencies and could face up to 99 years in prison according to his lawyers.

Previously, Love lost his legal challenge in September when the district judge, Nina Tempia, ruled that there are no reasons to believe that Love would not be appropriately cared for in US prison system. Love’s defence argued that because of him having Asperger syndrome, depression and eczema he is likely to be driven towards suicide. This would be especially the case in the US prison system which has considerably worse facilities for prisoners with mental health issues.

The case of Lauri Love has been compared to that of Gary McKinnon, whose extradition was blocked by the then Home Secretary Theresa May in 2012. McKinnon has publicly shown his support to Love in this article.

Europe

Facebook stops data sharing with WhatsApp across Europe

Data sharing in European countries between WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook has been stopped. The social media company first stopped the flow of data in the UK following the ICO’s investigation into their practices.

The ICO found that the two companies had failed to seek valid consent from its users. As a response to the regulatory pressure, Facebook halted its data cooperation with WhatsApp in the UK two weeks ago.

The data sharing has been stopped for advertising purposes but the two companies are still sharing information to fight spam.

Facebook commented on their recent actions:
"We hope to continue our detailed conversations with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office and other data protection officials, and we remain open to working collaboratively to address their questions."

More privacy and safety rules for drones

The European Parliament’s transport committee approved changes to aviation safety rules for drones. MEPs would like to implement mandatory registration of drones that weigh more than 250 grams. Their aim is to enshrine requirements for civil drones in EU legislation to provide more clarity and coherence for the sake of security and privacy. The new rules are said to not affect “toy” drones.

ORG media coverage

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

2016-11-11-New Scientist-Trump’s election stokes fears of future NSA surveillance abuses
Author: Aviva Rutkin
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on UK's reliance on US technology and data having a potential impact on UK's sovereignty.
2016-11-11-The Guardian-Privacy experts fear Donald Trump running global surveillance network
Author: Spencer Ackerman & Ewen MacAskill
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on UK's reliance on US technology and data having a potential impact on UK's sovereignty.
2016-11-11-Pune Mirror-How much snooping is too much?
Summary: Pam Cowburn quoted on the problematic nature of using non-financial data to determine financial decision without transparent criteria.
2016-11-14-Boing Boing-Petition: don't add all adult sites to the British national internet censorlist
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: ORG's petition against censoring of legal pornographic content quoted.
2016-11-16-Forbes-UK Joins Russia And China In Legalizing Bulk Surveillance
Author: Emma Woollacott

Summary: Jim Killock quoted on the IPBill being used by authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.

2016-11-17-Telecompaper-Investigatory Powers Bill passes House of Lords
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on the IPBill being used by authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.
2016-11-17-ZDNet-Britain has passed the 'most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy'
Author: Zack Whittaker
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on the IPBill being used by authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.
2016-11-17-Tech Crunch-UK parliament rubberstamps mass surveillance law
Author: Natasha Lomas
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on the IPBill being used by authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.
2016-11-17-The Inquirer-Privacy groups slam parliamentary passing of 'draconian' IP Bill
Author: Carly Page
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on the IPBill being used by authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.
2016-11-17-Yahoo-U.K.’s Investigatory Powers law gives police wide-ranging snooping powers
Author: Jonathan Keane
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on the IPBill being used by authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.
2016-11-17-Tom's Hardware-Snoopers' Charter, UK’s Most Privacy Invasive Law Passed By Parliament
Author: Lucien Armasu
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on the IPBill being used by authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.
2016-11-17-Techspot-UK's Snooper's Charter approved by parliament, set to become law in next few weeks
Author: Rob Thubron
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on the IPBill being used by authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.
2016-11-17-Tech Week Europe-Snooper’s Charter 2.0 Is Set To Become Law As Lords Pass Controversial IP Bill
Author:Steve McCaskill
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on the IPBill being used by authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.
2016-11-18-V3-Privacy groups slam government for passing Snoopers' Charter
Author: Carly Page
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on the IPBill being used by authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.
2016-11-18-CBR Online-As IP Bill becomes law, what does the Snoopers Charter mean for your business?
Author: Alexander Sword
Summary: ORG mentioned in connection with the IPBill having an impact on businesses not being able to meet the standards of data protection.
2016-11-18-Bit-Tech-Open Rights Group vows to fight new IP Law
Author: Gareth Halfacree
Summary: Jim Killock quoted on the IPBill being used by authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.

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