Privacy News Roundup 5 December 2016

Ten year jail sentence for UK Internet pirates, according to new bill

The UK’s Digital Economy Bill, which replaces the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988, threatens to extend the current maximum prison sentence for online piracy from two to ten years. The bill has not yet been passed into law and could still be amended, though many are concerned that the huge leap in the penalty for piracy does not fit the alleged crime.

If the bill is passed in its current form, anyone who is caught uploading any amount of content that infringes copyright could face ten years in prison though it’s unlikely that casual uploaders and sharers will be targeted.

Only last week, Members of Parliament debated the bill at a third reading in the House of Commons. It was reported in the Guardian last month that, should the bill be passed into law, web users in the UK would be banned from websites that depict certain sexual acts even though they are legal among consenting adults in the country.

The Government intends to bring online infringements under the same conditions as offline penalties. Currently, the maximum penalty for offline infringement is two years, but this could change to ten. As things stand, section 107, which covers criminal liability for generating or dealing infringed articles, reads as follows:

(2A) A person who infringes copyright in a work by communicating the work to the public —
(a) in the course of a business, or
(b) otherwise than in the course of a business to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright,
commits an offense if he knows or has reason to believe that, by doing so, he is infringing copyright in that work.
The amendment to this does not mention carrying out infringement during the course of business. Rather than a person being held criminally liable for distribution, including uploading, there only needs to be a suspicion there that the content infringes copyright while making a personal gain, a gain for someone else, or exposing a copyright owner to the risk of loss.

(2A) A person (“P”) who infringes copyright in a work by communicating the work to the public commits an offense if P —
(a) knows or has reason to believe that P is infringing copyright in the work, and
(b) either —
(i) intends to make a gain for P or another person, or
(ii) knows or has reason to believe that communicating the work to the public will cause loss to the owner of the copyright, or will expose the owner of the copyright to a risk of loss.

The draft also states the following:

(2B) For the purposes of subsection (2A) —
(a) “gain” and “loss” —
(i) extend only to gain or loss in money, and
(ii) include any such gain or loss whether temporary or
permanent, and
(b) “loss” includes a loss by not getting what one might get.

(1A) A person (“P”) who infringes a performer’s making available right in a recording commits an offense if P —
(a) knows or has reason to believe that P is infringing the right, and
(b)either—
(i) intends to make a gain for P or another person, or
(ii) knows or has reason to believe that infringing the right will cause loss to the owner of the right, or expose the owner of the right to a risk of loss.

uber
A recent Uber update allows the company to track phone location data even after a customer’s trip is finished. Source: Flickr.

“These are recordings made without the consent of the performer (i.e. piracy or bootlegging). Bootlegging is the recording, duplication and sale of a performance such as a live concert stage performance without the permission of the performer,” a description from the Crown Prosecution Service reads.

The Government has said that the ten year prison sentence will only be applied in rare cases. In a statement a spokesperson said “The Government believes that a maximum sentence of 10 years allows the courts to apply an appropriate sentence to reflect the scale of the offending.”

Casual offenders are not likely to be imprisoned for a decade. The maximum sentence is targeted more at organized, systematic piracy groups.

Uber now tracks user data after dropping you off

A recent Uber update has made it so user location data is still collected after customers are dropped off. In essence, the Uber app can track your location for five minutes after your trip is finished, even if you’re not actively using the app.

There is a way to get around it, however. After updating the app, you will be prompted to accept or reject the new policy. Here’s what a spokesperson from Uber had to say about the update:

Uber collects your location data from the time of trip request through five minutes after the trip ends, including when the app is in the background.
We do this to improve pickups, drop-offs, customer service, and to enhance safety. Trip Related Location Data is collected during the following times:
• When you are interacting with the Uber app and the app is foregrounded and visible.
• When you’re on a trip: from the time you request a trip until when the trip is ended or cancelled by the driver, even if the Uber app is running in the background and not visible to you.
• Up to five minutes after the driver ends a trip, even if the Uber app is in the background.”

A recent Uber update allows the company to track phone location data even after a customer’s trip is finished. Source: Flickr.[/caption]

Uber announced that it would be making the change last year, which prompted a Federal Trade Commission complaint. The Electronic Privacy Information Centre said at the time of the complaint, “this collection of user’s information far exceeds what customers expect from the transportation service. Users would not expect the company to collect location information when customers are not actively using the app.” The complaint was unsuccessful. In January, Uber and the New York Attorney General’s office agreed to help protect users’ location data, which requires Uber to encrypt location data and to secure it using multi-factor authentication.

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