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Discussion with [personal profile] ceb while I was in Cambridge led to the observation that, like CEB, I avoided Phagebook and Gurgle+ because of serious concerns about privacy and their business models, and wasn't on Twitter because, um, you know, thingy.

The fort now has a twitter account; twitter informed me that @tigerfort was not available (having been taken by someone a subsequent search revealed had made a total of 5 tweets, all in 2009, but I approve of permanency on the interwebtubes). Tatiana graciously volunteered to once more act as our public face, and so the username @StripeyCaptain was acquired.

I have no idea whether I'm likely to actually use it or not, but will probably try to read other people's stuff. Feel free to remind me of your twittle or suggest other people I might be interested in following (including famous ones; I have no idea which of these are actually worth it and which will merely fill my screen with stuff).
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Incidentally, for those who think that there's no need to worry because this year's Queen's speech is "all posturing for the election", you do know that this bill is being fast-tracked and has already had its second reading in the Lords, yes?

Further to my last two posts, more information on the appalling "digital economy bill" keeps coming to light. There's a nice post at booktrade.info describing how the bill "inadvertantly" imposes potentially huge new costs on small publishers of pretty much anything (books, games, photographs... anything with copyright potential). (Specifically, it creates new registration and licensing requirements for any 'organisation' which licences any copyright material created by more than one different individual, or acts as agent for any such owners. So of course, that applies to authors' agents as well as small creative companies.) The Open Rights Group has a post up from a specialist lawyer, giving chapter and verse on what's wrong with the bill. It's long, and fairly detailed, and well worth reading. One simple point of particular note, though, is that the so-called 'three-strikes rule' is nothing of the kind - not only is there no requirement for such disconnections to relate to a number of "strikes" there is no need for disconnection to be linked to infringement of copyright. Nor is there any requirement for evidence of any wrongdoing, or any allowance for an appeal. (Although I believe the EU is hastily passing some legislation to insist on something resembling a fair judicial process; somehow this seems likely to be the one piece of EU law that the UK gov't doesn't insist on applying over strenuously. Sigh.)

Tell everyone you know, and complain to your MP, please. The bill is very nasty indeed (for everyone except big media, natch), and needs to be stopped.
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There's now a Number 10 petition against a small part of the proposed law; please go and sign it. Petitions don't mean much, and there are a lot of other things wrong with the proposed bill, but every little helps.
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In case anyone has missed the BBC's round-the-clock coverage of absolutely no articles at all, or the slightly better information in the papers (being this 'we support big media' piece in the Torygraph and this slightly better one in the Gruaniad), our beloved leaders have published a "Digital Economy Bill" as part of this year's legislative program.

The proposed law scares me, and not just me. It scares everyone who actually has an interest in constructing (rather than preventing) some kind of useful digital economy; it scares every serious creative worker who knows anything about the subject (I imagine the record companies will wheel out the usual collection of hugely rich tools who know nothing about computing to support the insanity, but...); if you know about it and it doesn't scare you, then it should. Why? I think I'll let Cory Doctorow at Boingboing express some of the problems:

It consists almost entirely of penalties for people who do things that upset the entertainment industry (including the "three-strikes" rule that allows your entire family to be cut off from the net if anyone who lives in your house is accused of copyright infringement, without proof or evidence or trial), as well as a plan to beat the hell out of the video-game industry with a new, even dumber rating system

In addition to which,
These changes will give the Secretary of State (Mandelson -- or his successor in the next government) the power to make "secondary legislation" (legislation that is passed without debate) - including creating new remedies for online infringements, the ability to "confer rights" for the purposes of protecting rightsholders and also the authority to impose such duties, powers or functions on any person as may be specified in connection with facilitating online infringement.

There's a good deal of additional discussion elsewhere (see, for example, Charlie Stross, Talk-Talk's understandably unhappy response to a proposed law requiring them to spend vast amounts of money spying on their customers for the benefit of another industry, and the thoughts of the Open Rights Group. [ETA: I'm pleased to see that at least one UK political party appear to have their communal head screwed on correctly about this; can't say I'm surprised which of the three main parties it is, either....]

Join the ORG, write to your MP, express to someone somewhere what a really bad idea this is. Either that, or move to Sweden.


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May 2017

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