Author Archives: Jim Killock

The Independent View: Lib Dems have cause to be concerned about the data retention bill

web snoopers charterMany Liberal Democrats are congratulating themselves on a ‘sensible compromise’ on the emergency data retention bill, DRIP. I am afraid they are deeply wrong, and want to explain a little about why.

The first, most important point, is that DRIP doesn’t answer any of the points made by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) about data retention laws. Most importantly, they ask for an end to blanket retention, saying that retention must relate to specific threats, and be confined by specific criteria, such as a time period, …

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The Independent View: only 24 hours left to have your say on adult filtering

Default blocking of online adult material is a controversial and illiberal policy, which has attracted criticism from plenty of Liberal Democrats – and rightly so. Default Internet censorship takes decisions about what is appropriate for families and households out of parents’ hands. In the process the Government would be constructing an infrastructure of censorship that will be inefficient, error-ridden and open to abuse.

Default blocking will mean the Government and technology companies, rather than parents, deciding what is ‘appropriate’ for children and young people. Filtering can give parents a false sense of security and also inevitably leads to the the ‘wrong’ …

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The Independent View: How to legislate for the digital economy

“What to do about copyright?” In many ways this is a tired, fraught, complex and frustrating debate. It involves lawyers, economists, policy makers, campaigners of varying stripes, international legislation and huge corporate interests. It has been raging for hundreds of years. Change can be painfully slow. That means every so often it is important to revisit your principles.

Organisations such as Open Rights Group believe in the astonishing potential of the internet to expand our creative, economic and democratic horizons. And we believe that this potential is partly dependent on a flexible system of copyright that facilitates the reuse of the …

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Independent View: Website blocking should not be on the cards

Lib Dems are wisely taking a detailed look at whether website blocking would lead to excessive legal claims and censorship of legitimate material, or if it could be employed to reduce copyright infringement.

Ofcom, too, has been asked to look at whether the policy is “practical”. We at Open Rights Group met them to say: no it isn’t. And the collateral damage to people’s rights is likely to be very high.

As it stands, copyright holders can already go to Court to ask for websites to be blocked, as the result of previous lobbying. But they don’t use this legal

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The Independent View: The Digital Economy Bill should not be pushed through without proper scrutiny

Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group, writes about the Digital Economy Bill:

The Open Rights Group would like to thank the Lib Dems for taking a strong policy stance against the Digital Economy Bill’s disconnection and web blocking proposals.

The biggest danger now is that Parliament will not debate or amend the Bill at all. After the budget, the Bill could be passed with little or no debate, as the election must be called within the next few weeks. The result could be that the Bill becomes law in very bad shape.

The Lib Dems have a very significant role …

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The Independent View: Liberal Democrats should oppose the Digital Economy Bill

Last week we reported that, following the concessions forced on the government, Don Foster MP is broadly happy with the Digital Economy Bill’s proposals on illicit downloads. Jim Killock of the The Open Rights Group has a different take on the situation:

The Digital Economy Bill should be opposed by Liberal Democrats. Mandelson’s Bill seeks to reduce illicit downloads by punishing innocent people, removing any chance of a reasonable defence, and by disconnecting people.

Let’s start with this first idea, of disconnecting ‘infringers’.

Let’s say you pay BT, for broadband and somebody else downloads a number of copyright music tracks. You, your family, and …

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Open Rights Group call to action

This week, for the first time, public opinion was tested on the government’s proposals to disconnect people from the internet for copyright infringement.

Open Rights Group commissioned a YouGov poll, which came back with some remarkable findings.

The political implications are profound, if our poll is to be believed. While Labour have certainly got this wrong, we are yet to see any UK parliamentary party fully backing the public’s instincts shown in this poll. Perhaps the Liberal Democrats will be ready to pick up the challenge.

In our poll, 42% said that disconnection, should it be applied to them, would disrupt their …

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The Independent View: Statebook – knowledge is power

Launching our spoof Statebook website and campaign this bank holiday, we knew we’d be tapping into a strong and growing public unease about digital privacy.

Data leaks, massive government IT projects and ‘data retention’ are creating a sense that things in this area are going in the wrong direction. Perhaps people aren’t aware of all the details – but they know there’s a problem.

Statebook tries to bridge that gap by illustrating the wealth of information the government already holds on you, and how the government wants to get its hands on even more if it can – popularising the …

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