Newly in the public domain

Today is a great day; in the USA, works written/created in 1922 become available under the public domain as the 1970’s extension laws durations expire. This is recorded by Ars Technica, in an article entitled, Mickey Mouse and Batman will soon be public domain—here’s what that means. This headline is misleading since these properties won’t become PD until the 2030s. Don’t quite get the maths myself since the international treaties talk of 70 year durations and this looks like 95 years but we do know that this was an exercise in corrupt lobbying power but it would seem that “I’ve got you Babe”, written by the Congressional sponsor of the second extension law, yup, they did it twice, expires in 2060; don’t think I’ll be around to enjoy it for free. What a greedy twat!

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Mass Action or Court Action

I have today posted a limited review of Orgcon17 which happened last year. One of the most provocative presentations was this one, “Is the law the best way to stop mass surveillance?” While it documents the heroic struggle by a small group of fiercely motivated lawyers, it’s incredibly slow at the time, the court cases considered in 2017 related to 2015 laws and by the time the rulings came through the law in question had been replaced, but while pursuing legal action, mass action is hard, although crowdjustice.com and other petition sites allow the building of an on-line communities.

The presentation made me think about the numerous, trade union legal actions on collective bargaining issues, most notably their pursuit and criminalisation of Uber. In these cases, the use of the law is a sign of weakness, albeit of both sides, but demos and voting aren’t enough to change politicians minds on issues they consider peripheral. …

An overview of issues with the GDPR

An overview of issues with the GDPR

At the BCS legal day,  a presentation was made entitled “Key Issues” which they started with a quote from Jan Albrecht MEP (the Rapporteur),

“[The] result is something that makes (as we intended from the beginning) everybody equally unhappy, but at the same time is a huge step forward for all sides involved.

Jan Albrecht MEP”

It is hoped that business opportunity will be created by a harmonisation of regulation across Europe with a goal of improved privacy for its citizens. The harmonisation is constrained by the Restrictions Article, which excludes areas of law from the Regulation and creates nationally authored variances.  …

BCS Legal Day

BCS Legal Day

I attended the BCS ISSG Legal day where the priority was the coming General Data Protection Regulation. I believe that the day was held under Chatham House rules, which means that comments cannot be attributed. I prefer to work on more open terms; it allows me to attribute credit to those who have informed me or changed my mind but the notes have been anonymised. The running order has been changed to make the story better and to conform to my preferred priority order, of principles, rights, obligations and enforcement.  The day consisted of two presentations, entitled “Key Issues”, “the Data Protection Officer” and one on trends in enforcement.  I have written these notes over the last week, and backdated them to the day of occurrence. These are a bit less polemic than my recent articles here, but for various reasons I have been reminded that that’s how they once were; I hope these articles are useful to my more technical readers. Some of the discussions and issues may interest those that follow me for politics. …

The Digital Economy Act (again)

The Digital Economy Act (again)

The Digital Economy Act 2010 showed the long term goal of the entertainment industry, they want to criminalise file sharing. At the time, individual acts of copyright infringement were civil acts and the copyright owners had to pursue them through the courts, one at a time. This is expensive, slow, uncertain and most importantly expensive, compared with the cover price of a CD or DVD. The DE Act did that, it also sought to automate the justice system and in order to do that it weakened innocent until proven guilty, by prescribing defences and also placed a charge on going to court to argue not guilty. It really was a shit piece of legislation. However, the Law stated that the costs of surveillance and discovery had to be shared by the copyright owners and the internet service providers. The Courts struck down this part of the Law, (see here … for more)  …

International pursuit of corruption

International pursuit of corruption

Here is a presentation, dated 2011, called Changes in Spanish Anti-bribery Legislation by Rafael Jiménez-Gusi, a Partner of Baker & McKenzie, a Law Firm. It has what is now familiar, the concept of corporate bribery and private bribery. The mitigation acts are interesting, but more so is the unexplored extra-territoriality of Spanish Law and prosecutors. Do you think that Spanish prosecutors can pursue corruption throughout Europe? I also note that bribes are anything of value, that are not socially acceptable. So what’s a big dinner count as? What does a secret job offer count as? …

Surveillance: Lawyer says No

Surveillance: Lawyer says No

Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, chaired by Tom Watson MP as received QC’s advice on the legality of British Intelligence’s mass surveillance, reported here in the Guardian and the lawyer says the programmes are probably illegal and that any warrants signed by politicians will be in breach of UK Law,  the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the EU Acquis. Watson points at this article from his blog here. The legal justification is based on RIPA, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and Jemima Stanford QC states that it is not fit for purpose given the changes in technology in the last 10 years. …

Voter Suppression?

Voter Suppression?

The Guardian reports that the electoral commission have announced that they propose to extending proof of identity checks at the polling station from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK. This has been a while coming. I reviewed Mike Buckley’s Banana Republic UK, in which he argued that, proof of Identity should be presented when voting and/or applying for a postal vote, identity checks should be undertaken when applying for inclusion on the electoral roll & postal votes should be restricted to those who have a need. His arguments also strongly suggest that judicial scrutiny of contested or suspicious results should be easier to start. …

Who watches the Watchmen?

Who watches the Watchmen?

In the continuing story of the NSA and their five eyes attempts to do to the world what the GDR’s Stasi did to East Germany, someone finally asks how did we let GCHQ capture and process the internet traffic of the British people, those using the transatlantic internet cables and using the decryption technology to spy on allies and diplomats engaged in economic talks and treaties. On the 31st October, Julian Huppert MP with cross bench support from Tom Watson MP and Dominic Rabb MP managed to get time in the Westminster Hall committee room to debate Parliament’s oversight of the Intelligence agencies, specifically GCHQ, but let’s not forget our old friends, the burglars at MI5.  The debate was broadcast on Parliament TV, and transcribed in Hansard here. Both the Video and Hansard report the debate verbatim, and so if you want to hear what the MPs said, then you’ll have to use those resources. The rest of this article is a personal comment on the meeting. …