DRIP letter part 2

27 February 2015
I got a reply to my previous email to my MP Alok Sharma, with a note from James Brokenshaw, basically reiterating the the well publicised position of the government on the DRIP act. I wont type all of this in here, but here is my response to this.

Dear Alok Sharma

Thanks for the response to my letter from James Brokenshire of the home office. This appears to be a form letter reiterating the government position, rather that a response to any of my issues. It was also good to chat briefly to you when you called at my house a couple of weeks ago.

I get the impression you don’t fully grasp the importance of this. The internet at the moment is the preferred tool of communication for many in some circumstances, but it is rapidly becoming the only way of communication for many things. For the UK to prosper it is essential that individuals and businesses can operate here in a secure manner.

I noted that your response was a physical letter, and so not subject to electronic surveillance, or retention. Why should there be such a vast difference in the government and police powers depending on the medium of communication?

I and most people would agree that the Police need to have access to electronic data and the RIPA should be the basis of that access. That a warrant is required, and it has to be specific, relevant, and proportionate.

What we object to is the “Collect it all” attitude of turning the internet into the total surveillance tool. Firstly because it is amoral and repugnant in a free society, and secondly because it does not work in catching criminals.

The DRIP act extends the current powers in crucial areas, for the government to assert otherwise is misinforming the public. (see https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2014/the-drip-myth-list )

What should we do about this? The best laws are those based on clear principals, not on specific technologies. Like the Human Rights act. So when a court such as the CJEU rules that a domestic law breaches human rights the government should take note and adjust the domestic laws. Not just pass another “emergency” law to reinstate the powers that the court have ruled on.

I hope that you will consider this carefully when the DRIP act comes up for renewal, and pledge in your election manifesto not to support this law.

Kind Regards

Stuart Ward
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Digital Economy Bill

18 March 2010

I have added my voice to the letter writing campaign on the Digital Economy Bill. My letter to Stephen Williams.

Dear Stephen Williams MP

I am very concerned with the provisions of the Digital Economy Bill.

The proposals to implement censorship (blocking of websites) because of alleged facilitation of copyright violations is a very draconian measure. I am glad that the Liberal Democrats have realised their error and are withdrawing the amendment in the Lords to enact this.

When it returns to the commons the government is proposing to rush this bill through, without adequate debate and scrutiny. I hope you will oppose this and ensure that full and thorough debate on the bill.

The fostering of the digital economy is critical to the future of Britain and our place in the world. The provisions to pander to the big lobbing of the entertainment industry are bound to failure, and will probably cause unintended consequences.

In the USA the Digital Millennium Copyright bill was a reaction the the cracking of the DVD encryption scheme. The bill has failed to protect Blue Ray disks. And has been used by big business to silence embarrassing information, and stifle competition on things like printer cartridges.

In France the HADOPI legislation seems to have increased the amount of file sharing there rather than diminished it. Remember the “Taping is Killing Music” campaign, eventually the entertainment industry embraced the new technology rather than fighting it.

Remember that the the Copyright is a Limited Monopoly that is granted to artists in order to allow them to control the distribution of works. It is a bargain in order to promote the creation of cultural works.

Infringement is a civil matter. Yet the government is proposing to use censorship on accusation, disconnection from the internet without any legal proceedings, and collective punishment.

There is an urgent need to reform Copyright and other Intellectual Property laws, to reflect the technology of the internet, to foster the creative talent that is emerging from back-rooms around the country. Just look at the amazing creativity that is emerging on podcasts, and video sites, using creative commons licences, and beating the big media companies in innovation and promotional success.


Tech Political Spotlight

4 March 2010

Just seen Alan Yentob on the TV quizzing the various parties on there position on the arts. While the impact on the average citizen is not that great, this gets exposure on mainstream TV.

What I would like to see is the very real and draconian provision of copyright enforcement, surveillance, and patent law, is having on ordinary people. Especially as this will probably have a major effect on our culture and on the arts than any of the issues discussed in the Culture Show.

There is an opportunity here to really push these issues to the fore in the coming election frenzy.


Write to a Lord

1 December 2009

As part of the Opn Rights Group Campaign on the draconian provisions of the Digital Economy bill I wrote to Lord Birt, and a random Lord, Lord Fraser of Carmyllie.

Dear Lord

I write to you to encourage you to reject the proposals before you today for disconnecting alleged file sharers from the internet.

Can you honestly say that a careful review of all of your published material if examined carefully by an intellectual property lawyer would not revel 3 instances of possible copyright infringement. Do you think it fair, if on acquisition only, that you should have your access, and that of all your family members removed. Is that fair.

Do you believe that the existing media organisations truly promote innovation and artistic endeavour, in their promotion of artists. Are these organisations the best way to promote innovation and artistic endeavour.

You must reject this draconian and excessive law.

Just look at the incredible uprising of innovation and talent that the creative commons initiative has encouraged.

I work in the Mobile ISP industry and I know that no ISP will test accusations for validity, they will all just pass them on. The big media companies will use the power given to them to impede the progress of all competition, in the same way the internet take down notices have been used to suppress and censor opposing views.

Yours Sincerely
Stuart Ward