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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 35 declined, 7 accepted (42 total, 16.67% accepted)

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Submission + - DMCA amendment proposed for UK (

rimberg writes: The awful UK Digital Economy Bill is being debated in the House of Lords today, and">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 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.


Submission + - Correction: Music Copyright In EU Not Extended (

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).

Submission + - European Copyright extension vote on 23rd March (

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.

Submission + - Open Rights Group's busiest year so far

rimberg writes: The Open Rights Group (AKA the british version of the EFF) have released their annual Review of Activities. It's been a bumper year for digital rights. From HMRC posting half the nation's bank details to the Darknet, to the ongoing campaign against Phorm, to three strikes and the rightsholder lobby's so-far thwarted attempt to take control of your internet connection, this year was the year digital rights went mainstream. As ORG's website explains: Politicians and the media don't always understand new technologies, but comment and legislate anyway. The result can be ill-informed journalism and dangerous laws. The Open Rights Group is a grassroots technology organisation which exists to protect civil liberties wherever they are threatened by the poor implementation and regulation of digital technology. We call these rights our "digital rights".

Submission + - Stop unreasonable surveillance and censure (

rimberg writes: This Wednesday, MEPs will vote on the Telecoms package. Two amendments have been tabled which in particular will ensure the new telecoms regulations protect European citizens from unreasonable surveillance and censure. If you have half an hour, why not write to to your MEPs and ask them to support these amendments?

Amendment 133 is an anti-filtering amendment, and will add the following text to the Directive:

"Member States shall ensure that no technology may be mandated by competent authorities which would facilitate surveillance of internet users, such as technologies that mirror or monitor the users actions and/or interfere with operations of the user's network activity for the benefit of a third party (known as 'filtering')."

Amendment 138 ensures that sanctions cannot be imposed on end-users without judicial oversight. It will add the following text to the Directive:

"applying the principle that no restriction may be imposed on the rights and freedoms of end-users, notably in accordance with Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union on freedom of expression and information, without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities, except where dictated by force majeure or by the requirements of preserving network integrity and security, and subject to national provisions of criminal law imposed for reasons of public policy, public security or public morality."

The Internet

Submission + - UK to consult on alaws to curb illicit filesharing (

rimberg writes: The UK Government has released a consultation into potential legislation aimed at curbing illicit filesharing on the net. Several of the legislative options on the table are worrying, and mirror schemes being discussed in various national and international fora. They include streamlining the legal process to require ISPs to provide personal data relating to an IP address, handing responsibility for taking action against illicit filesharers to a third party body, or requiring ISPs to take action against users themselves or to install filtering equipment to block infringing content.

At the same time a "Memorandum of Understanding", negotiated behind-the-scenes with strong influence from the Government, between the UK's six major ISPs (Virgin Media, Sky, Carphone Warehouse, BT, Orange and Tiscali) and the British Phonographic Industry and the Motion Picture Association. Signatories endorse five principles in the MoU:
  1. That a joint industry solution is the best way forward
  2. That they will work together to educate consumers about why illicit filesharing is wrong
  3. That making content available in a wide range of user-friendly formats is important
  4. That they will engage in a 3 month trial to send letters to 1,000 subscribers per week suspected of downloading or uploading unlicensed, copyrighted material
  5. That they will work with OfCom to identify effective measures to deal with repeat offenders

The Open Rights Group has more details


Submission + - Term Extension bad, top legal advisers tell EU (

rimberg writes: A letter to EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, slamming the far reaching and negative effects of the proposal to extend the term of copyright in sound recordings, has been sent by an impressive list of professors and leading European centres for 'intellectual property' research

"This Copyright Extension Directive, proposed by Commissioner Mccreevy, is likely to damage seriously the reputation of the Commission. It is a spectacular kowtow to one single special interest group: the multinational recording industry (Universal, Sony/BMG, Warner and EMI) hiding behind the rhetoric of "aging performing artists".
"The Commission is required to conduct an impact study for each directive it proposes. We, the leading European centres for intellectual property policy research, have collectively reviewed the empirical evidence. Our findings are unanimous. The proposed Copyright Extension Directive will damage European creative endeavour and innovation beyond repair."

If you want to help out please sign the petition being run by the Open Rights Group and the EFF.


Submission + - BBC take down Doctor Who fan's knitting patterns

rimberg writes: Doctor Who fan has been posting knitting patterns to help other people re-create characters from the cult series using only two sticks and ball of wool. Impressive? The BBC, producers of the series, didn't think so. They sent Mazz a letter, which states: "We note that you are supplying DR WHO items, and using trade marks and copyright owned by BBC. You have not been given permission to use the DR WHO brand and we ask that you remove from your site any designs connected with DR WHO. Please reply acknowledging receipt of this email, and confirm that you will remove the DR WHO items as requested."

Submission + - A call for the UK Prime Minister's fingerprint (

Glyn writes: "Privacy International and the UK's NO2ID are offering a £1,000 reward for the first person to collect and submit the UK Prime Minister's and Home Secretary's fingerprints. Plus you can print your own Wanted Poster! Building on the great work from the Chaos Computer Club in collecting the fingerprints of the German Interior Minister, they are campaigning to raise politicians' awareness of the dangers of collecting this type of biometric data.

Around the world, politicians are now calling for the mass fingerprinting of foreigners. The UK is relatively unique in that the Government is calling for the collection of all ten fingerprints of all citizens and residents and placing them into a single centralised database for wide access by police, and other government agencies. The Government is clear that it wants to treat all citizens as though they are criminals, having promised the police that they can trawl through the fingerprint database for forensic purposes.
Following recent data breach scandals, including the loss of 25 million records on British families, we are not confident in the ability of the Government to secure this information. In fact, even the Government's advisors, including the recent report for HM Treasury by Sir James Crosby argues against the collection of unique biometrics; but the Home Office insists that it will continue along this hazardous path. As fingerprinting systems expand to enable people to secure their computers, possessions and even homes, the centralisation of biometrics will increase the risks of breaches.


Submission + - Brits Write to your MP today over Discgate (

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.

Submission + - iPlayer interview with Ashley Highfield (

rimberg writes: "26 minutes of questions and answers about iPlayer, DRM and cross platform support with Ashley Highfield, the BBC's Director of Future Media & Technology.
"The problem at the moment, there is no open source DRM. It's almost a contradiction in terms, if you have DRM how can you have it open source? Because open source people will be able to find out how it works and get round it."
"Once we get to that stage, where the content, wherever it goes, can have all the rules associated with how it should behave, and once its able to tell us who's viewing it, where they're viewing it ... then it doesn't really matter where the content goes"

listen in Mpeg3, Ogg Vorbis or AAC."

The Internet

Submission + - Open standards discussed in the uk parliament (

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."


Submission + - Election Monitors Damning Report on E Voting

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.)

Submission + - British e-Voting Watch 2007

rimberg writes: "Despite the well known problems with e-voting and e-counting the British government is pressing ahead with pilots at the May 2007 local elections. To make sure we all get a true picture of how these pilots are run, the Open Rights Group (Think British EFF) is calling for people to help with their fully accredited election observer programme. The Open Rights Group will provide full instructions on the activities expected of you on the day and will also supply a factsheet of what to look out for in each of the different pilots."

Submission + - British e-Voting Pilots Announced

rimberg writes: "The Department for Constitutional Affairs has announced it is going to trial Electronic voting using the internet and/or telephone. Bridget Prentice, Elections Minister at the department said "We need to make sure that people can vote in more convenient ways consistent with a modern lifestyle." "More and more people, and particularly young people, are using the internet everyday. We need to see if we can use this to encourage people even more to participate in the democratic process."
The Open Rights Group (Think British EFF) have responded by saying "E-voting threatens the integrity of our elections and we oppose its use in our democracy." If you want to find out more come along to one of the e-voting events starting 6th February with a screening of the superb Hacking Democracy."

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