rimberg writes "The awful UK Digital Economy Bill is being debated in the House of Lords today, and http://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2010/conservatives-and-lib-dems-push-web-blocking">it might just get more awful.
An amendment that would open the door to nationally censoring entire websites by getting an injunction on claims of copyright infringement — so YouTube or WordPress.com might disappear from the British Internet if someone makes a accusation of copyright infringement against them.
The bill it self contains the disastrous three strikes law where accusations of copy right infringement can get you disconnected from the internet, but if the lords vote this amendment through it will also allow the shutting down of web sites. Please could you spare a few minutes to write to the lords so this amendment does not not get moved."Link to Original Source
rimberg writes "A story previously run on Slashdot stated that the EU had extended copyright by 20 years. What had actually happened was the first vote in the EU parliament has gone in favour of extension there will be more votes to follow. There is still time for you to make a difference by writing to your representative.
4 out of the 7 main groups (ALDE, GREENS/EFA, NGL, IND/ DEM) together with a cross party platform of MEPs voted to reject the proposal. Internal opposition threatened the group positions of the two largest parties (PSE and EPP) as several national delegations and key MEPS also joined the fight to reject. We understand that, in total, 222 voted in favour of rejection, 370 against. The final vote was 317 in favour, 178 against, 37 abstentions. A key amendment to ensure benefits accrued only to performers was also rejected.
The proposal now moves forward to the Council of Ministers where it is currently blocked by member states. Discussions on the proposal will be held in the Council of Ministers and you can find out how to contact your governments relevant IP body here. (We understand the blocking minority is currently made up of Slovenia, Portugal, Austria, Netherlands, Sweden, Slovakia, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, Romania)."Link to Original Source
rimberg writes "The EFF and the Open Rights Group need your help. The European Parliament is set to vote on the 23 March on extending the term of copyright for sound recordings, key European experts opposing the extension have released a new letter to MEPs warning of the dangers. Highlighting that the costs to the public are likely to exceed 1 billion. I can not overstate this get in touch with your MEPs now."Link to Original Source
rimberg writes "On Monday next week Kieron Poynter of PricewaterhouseCoopers will publish his report into the failures that led to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) losing 25 million confidential records about UK citizens claiming child benefit. The HMRC fiasco, and privacy debacles before and since, demonstrate a public sector culture of complete disregard for the privacy and security of individuals in the UK. There will be a Ministerial statement about the Poynter Review in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon. If you haven't already, please write to your MP today and ask her or him to put your concerns to policy-makers during this session. This culture of disregard for personal privacy combined with the Government's continued belief in the aggregation and sharing of vast amounts of personal data across agencies is a privacy timebomb.If you're unsure how to write an effective missive to your MP, then read the ORG wiki's handy guide. What follow are some key points and requests to put to your MP for you to choose from — click on the links for further ideas and resources.
You could also ask your MP to sign the Early Day Motion proposed by Annette Brooke MP which calls upon the Government to reconsider its decision to proceed with the children's database ContactPoint."Link to Original Source
rimberg writes "On Tuesday, John Pugh MP led an adjournment debate on IT software procurement, where he accused the UK government of excluding Linux and Mac Users from government services such as the Department of Work and Pensions online benefits system.Also during the debate it looked like Andrew Miller MP might have raised the spectre of Microsoft's failed OOXML standard, when he asked:
"Would it not help in the quest for openness if the British Standards Institution were to follow the lead in other parts of the world and make open source XML (sic) one of the standards to be applied throughout the world? It would mean that people working outside the Microsoft sphere could have access to the code, and it would help the world in future-proofing big projects such as the British Library archives.""Link to Original Source
rimberg writes "The Open Rights Group (ORG) has just released its report into the May 2007 elections in Scotland and England. The report expresses deep concerns over the conduct of the 3 May elections in England and Scotland. Presenting the findings of their 25 strong team of officially accredited election observers, they state with regret that they are unable to express confidence in the results of the polls in those areas observed. This is not a declaration they take lightly but, despite having had accredited observers on location, having interviewed local authorities and having filed Freedom of Information requests, ORG is still not able to verify if votes were counted accurately and as voters intended.
The report identifies problems with the procurement, planning, management and implementation of the systems concerned. But more fundamentally, given that problems were so widespread, the evidence supports the view the e-voting and e-counting technologies are not suitable for conducting statutory elections.
(Give me a yell if you want me to write up a longer version of this, I was one of the observers so I can give lots more if you want.)"