22nd June 2012 01:00 by Will Tovey
After many years of campaigning, Parliament is finally debating a new Defamation Bill. Defamation (covering libel and slander) is about protecting a person's reputation, and balancing that right against the general freedom of expression. Over the last few years English libel law has become infamous around the world for its chilling effect on free speech, ease of use to silence criticism (informal, political and academic) and its disproportionate costs.
The new Bill attempts to tackle some of these issues. But while it is a step in the right direction, it mainly codifies the existing law rather than significantly improving it. There are still some major problems with the current text and while it is being debated in the House of Commons we have a chance to try to fix it before it becomes law. To do this, we need you to write to your MP, highlighting the major problems. If nothing else, please ask them to read through the memorandum the Party submitted to the Public Bill Committee, the key points of which are outlined below.
28th January 2012 00:00 by Will Tovey
Earlier today, Loz Kaye, leader of the Pirate Party, published a statement highlighting a major threat to the Internet, to civil liberties, and our political and legal systems; ACTA. Following this, the Party has received many requests asking what we, ordinary citizens can do about this, and the best way to stop it.
- Raise awareness of ACTA - make sure people know that it exists and the danger it poses.
- Contact your MEPs, urging them to vote against it when they get the chance to (in June, for most of them).
- Contact your local MP (or MSPs, AMs and councillors, if you have them), letting them know about ACTA, and why it should be stopped.
- Join over 600,000 people across the world in signing AVAAZ's petition against ACTA.
- Openly support any of the many organisations campaigning against ACTA, and encourage others to do so as well.
Follow the link below to access the full version, with details on what has already happened, who to contact, how and when to contact them, and what to say.
25th July 2011 15:15 by Will Tovey
In the last week there have been three stories in the news concerning copyright infringement and "illegal websites". In each case, a group with an interest in enforcing copyright has called for or announced measures against such websites, but this raises an important question of what makes a website illegal. In terms of copyright infringement this is a very tricky question as there is no easy way to tell whether content or a service is unlawful.
25th May 2011 01:30 by Will Tovey
Privacy law in the UK is fairly simple but its application is confusing, and this confusion has not been helped by recent events. Over the last few weeks we have seen intense criticism of the law, and its application by the judiciary, coming from politicians, the media and even the Prime Minister. Not everything being reported by any of these groups is entirely accurate. While this post will attempt to clarify the law to some degree, for a more complete picture, the recent European Court of Human Rights judgment in Mosley v The United Kingdom has a thorough outline of the law, and the Committee on Super-Injunctions produced a very thorough report on the current situation.
18th May 2011 19:45 by Will Tovey
Today the Supreme Court gave a long-awaited ruling on the subject of DNA databases and the ability of the police to store DNA samples of innocent people indefinitely. In a majority judgment (with two of the seven judges disagreeing) the Court ruled that the police practices were unlawful. Due to changes in the law being discussed by Parliament the judges did not go as far as ordering the police to change their practices within a certain time-frame or awarding compensation. It was, however, suggested that if changes were not made soon, further cases could be brought which were likely to succeed.
While this ruling does not mark the end of excessive police profiling, or of the police DNA databases, it is clearly a step towards a more balanced and proportionate system, and should be welcomed by all those who seek a fair and just policing system