RemaIN

RemaIN

On June 23rd, there will be the most important democratic decision taken in the UK, ever. The British People and those of Northern Ireland will be asked if they wish to remain in or leave the European Union. I am firmly of the view that both collectively and individually we will be better off, have more freedoms and a richer political, and non-political culture if we remain in. Like others, I have a list of issues that I believe need to be considered, mine are, Jobs & Prosperity, Citizenship Rights, Sovereignty and Peace & Hope. …

Labour’s Human Rights champion

Labour’s Human Rights champion

Left Foot Forward publishes an article “Who is the ‘human rights candidate’ for Labour’s leadership?”. This is based on a post on the Labour Campaign for Human Rights, who publish the candidates answers in their own words  on their own blog.  One of the LCHR’s questions was on Surveillance, and none of them have consulted me ;), but Cooper and Burnham both support the need for judicial authorisation and probable cause. Kendall and Corbyn both support strengthening the legal framework in favour of civil liberties. Kendall states she opposes the privacy breaches inherent in mass surveillance. Corbyn that he thinks mass surveillance is ineffective (and thus not justified?). …

English Revolution

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I have just seen the first of Melvyn Bragg’s documentaries in a two part series called “Radical Lives”. This was about John Ball, a radical priest in England who in 1381 supported the Peasants Revolt. The documentary does a fine job in describing the feudal economic and racist oppression by the scions of the Norman invasion. The original poll tax was levied at this time and the reaction from the peasantry was swift and violent. They rose up and marched on London, sacked the Tower of London and executed several leading government officials.  …

Left & Right Wing Rights

Left & Right Wing Rights

One of the big stories from the Tory Party conference is the resurrection of the proposal to leave the European Council’s Human Rights court. Several correspondents elsewhere question both the moral sense and the political tactics of pursuing this policy. David Allen Green has created a page on his blog to act as an index on the pro and anti views and includes links to the Conservative Party proposals and press release; the views of most lawyers are against the proposed reforms.  …

Oh Shit! You mean spying on everyone is illegal?

Oh Shit! You mean spying on everyone is illegal?

Better change that then! In April, the Court of Justice of the EU, ruled that its 2004 Data Retention Directive mandating Information System Services Providers to store all their records for 12 months was declared incompatible with the EU’s Fundamental Charter of [Citizen’s] Rights. It and all the national laws implementing the Directive need to be reviewed to see if they remain legal. Last week, the Government announced that it planned to introduce new laws to plug the gap. This is to be called the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill/Act. (DRIP) which they plan to pass in less than ½ a week using emergency provisions and the agreement of the Labour front bench. …

Both sides of the jurisdictional fence

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In an discussion thread in a BCS group on linkedin, I commented on the bind that US companies have in attempting to meet European Privacy Laws and the US requirement to co-operate with their law enforcement authorities. Some raised the issue of extra-territoriality as based on the location of the storage medium, I said,

The US jurisdictional claim is over the ownership of the storage media not its location. The EU’s jurisdictional claim is over ownership of the data. The current state of law means that it is not possible for US companies to obey the European duty of privacy and the US duties of disclosure.

I should add that the US legal system has some difficulty in accepting privacy as an inalienable right as well as accepting that it is universal; they believe the rights to privacy from government intrusion only belongs to its citizens. This is the inexorable logic of the republic. …

Privacy and Big Data

I read Privacy and Big Data by Craig and Ludloff towards the end of 2013. The first chapter is called “The Perfect Storm”. The book lists a number of consumer and corporate computing trends, from Google’s search solution and their clustered file systems, the consumer adoption of cloud storage and the realisation of parallel computing models. There is no question that data is growing at an explosive rate and that new computational models are being developed to use these new volumes of data in timescales appropriate to the human. These new models are of interest to both the new internet companies and to Governments yet because of both social media and the distributed nature of modern computing raise questions of privacy. …

Privacy Liberty and security: How will Labour tackle terror?

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This was chaired by Jamie Bartlett of Demos, with David Blunkett and Helen Goodman with Nick Pickles of Big Brotherwatch. Jamie Bartlett, who has an interesting publication record at Demos may have been the perfect chair for the meeting.

He opened by looking at Labour’s mixed record, on the positive side introducing the Human Rights Act and on the less positive side, introducing RIPA and extending detention. RIPA is not well understood; but it defines the powers and duties in the issue of search warrants as a result most police searches are now self-authorised. He made the point that once in existence, databases suffer from scope creep and that to some extent the Communications Data Bill is an attempt to legalise actions already taken. …

Citizens not Suspects

I attended the Open Rights Group’s London meetup on Monday night; Rachel Robinson, Liberty’s Policy Officer was speaking at the Angel, a pub near Old St, probably the inspiration for the London monopoly board space. She spoke about planned legistation in the UK known variously as the Communications Capabilities Development Programme or the Communications Data Bill. Interesting how the British Government develop such annodyne names for their oppressive measures, the Digital Economy Act vs the US “Stop Online Piracy Act” or the “Commerce before Leisure on the Internet Act”, I made the last one up, or I think I did. …

Wifi and academic freedom

One of the, some would claim unintended, consequences of the DE Bill debate is the fear that public wifi will become impossible. A number of public sector organisations including many Universities, but also hospitals and public libraries are becoming concerned that their current policy of offering free or cheap unauthenticated access to wifi will open them to suit by rights holders or their agents if their nomadic, or mass user base decide to behave in such a way as to incur the attentions of rights holders or their agents.  The Government are proposing to give these organisations no protection against the provisions of the DE Bill. …