UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Would you vote for the Pirate Party?

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The Pirate Party, which originated in Sweden, is now a registered political party in Britain and set to run candidates in the next general election.  Its aim is to reform copyright law, abolish the patent system and ensure privacy rights for all citizens.

The party, with branches in more than 25 countries, argues that file-sharing and peer-to-peer networking should be encouraged rather than criminalized, based on the idea that “the Internet could become the greatest public library ever created.”

Combatting  levels of surveillance and control put in place by governments in response to the 9/11 attacks in New York are also top of the agenda.

The party wants to introduce an alternative to pharmaceutical patents throughout Europe that it says will save on drug costs to governments.

Do you object to Google Street View?

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Google’s “Street View” service has survived calls to have it shut down. The UK’s privacy watchdog has ruled that removing the service, which allows users to navigate around a 360-degree view of streets and houses in 25 cities, would be “disproportionate to the relatively small risk of privacy detriment.”

Google promised to obscure images of pedestrians or car licence plates but some slipped through the net. The media reported a number of embarrassing images including a man walking out of a sex shop and another being sick outside a pub.

Candid cameras. Does CCTV actually work?

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cctv.jpgA senior detective has questioned the effectiveness of CCTV, saying it helps solve only a tiny minority of street crimes and that its use has been an “utter fiasco”.

Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, head of the Metropolitan police’s division on visual images, identifications and detections, wants better training for police officers in using CCTV, more sophisticated technology and a national database to allow offenders to be tracked and identified.

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