The President of the United States, whose Bill of Rights bans the government from making a law "respecting...the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances," has told the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, birthplace of the Magna Carta and signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the freedom of assembly, that he will only visit the United Kingdom if the residents of that country are legally barred from protesting his visit.
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Speaker John Bercow has stated that Trump hasn't "earned" the right to address the Commons, something that Parliamentarians are likely to back, given the 1.8 million signatures on a petition against a state visit by Trump. Read the rest
John Bercow, the Tory-appointed, historicaly scrupulously neutral Speaker of the House has said that Donald Trump will not be permitted to address Parliament during his hugely controversial upcoming state visit. Read the rest
A Parliamentary petition to rescind the invitation for Donald Trump to make an official state visit has received nearly 1.3 million signatures in a matter of days, making it the fastest-growing such petition in Parliamentary history. Read the rest
The White House's official schedule for UK PM Theresa May's state visit misspells the PM's name in three places, referring to her as "Teresa May," a soft porn star, model and musician. (Image: Charnwood Publishing Co Ltd) Read the rest
As the UK government passes increasingly far-reaching surveillance laws that bind companies to capture, store and share data on their customers' activities, US tech giants like Facebook and Google are caught in a dilemma: much of what the UK government demands of them, the US government prohibits. Read the rest
The UK Home Office has sent letters to the world's airlines, warning them not to let NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden board a plane for the UK, because "the individual is highly likely to be refused entry to the UK." Read the rest
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has launched a signature drive to get the UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, to intervene to stop the extradition to the USA of Richard O'Dwyer, who created the TVShack website. TVShack had links to places from which users could download TV shows, and was legal under UK law. The US entertainment lobby has demanded O'Dwyer be rendered to an American court, which may persecute him for violating the law of a distant land. As Wales writes, it's time to stop letting the entertainment industry's priorities define the regulatory regime for the Internet.
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Copyright is an important institution, serving a beneficial moral and economic purpose. But that does not mean it can or should be unlimited. It does not mean that we should abandon time-honoured moral and legal principles to allow endless encroachments on our civil liberties in the interests of the moguls of Hollywood.
One of the important moral principles that has made everything we relish about the internet possible, from Wikipedia to YouTube, is that internet service providers need to have a safe harbour from what their users do. There are and should be some limits to this. Under US copyright law, there are notice and take-down provisions requiring service providers to remove content under a properly formatted notification. And there is a distinction between hosting copyrighted material and telling people where it is. The latter is protected under the first amendment.
When I met Richard (along with his mother), he struck me as a clean-cut, geeky kid.