June 21, 2017

ORG response to Queen's speech 2017

Open Rights Group has responded to today's Queen’s Speech.

Executive Director Jim Killock said:

“We need to ensure that Internet companies have as much incentive to fully protect free speech as they do to remove illegal content.

“We would hope that a Digital Charter’s regulatory framework will include independent or judicial oversight of material that is taken down by Internet companies. This will help to ensure that we do not simply place the free speech of UK citizens in the hands of private companies without any safeguards.

“We also hope that the reference to a world class regime for protecting our personal data will mean that the Government is committed to delivering the General Data Protection Regulation in full. We hope that the Government will give privacy organisations like Open Rights Group two important rights that are optional in GDPR. These are: to start enforcement cases without requiring to be instructed by individuals affected, and to be able to help people sue companies for privacy damages. These are vital powers that will help to improve data protection in the UK.

“We are surprised that the Queen’s Speech does not make any reference to plans to ensure that requests for communications data by the police and other bodies are independently authorised. The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on this before Christmas and we know that the Home Office has put out a tender for businesses to help develop a new “independent communications data authorising body”. Yet the Government has still not been up front with Parliament about this important development.”

For more information, contact press@openrightsgroup.org