Pirate Party UK: Liberators of free speech or media stirrers?

In April the High Court ruled that Swedish file-sharing website, The Pirate Bay, must be blocked by UK Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This was a result of heavy lobbying by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and has meant internet censorship for all of us. If you try accessing the Pirate Bay today all you will get is “Website Blocked”.

To counter this, minor political group, Pirate Party UK (PPUK) launched a proxy server which allowed users to bypass the ISP block of  the Pirate Bay. The new proxy was praised heavily, touting internet freedom for all. However, this proxy was not to be. Over the last few weeks elected members of PPUKs National Executive Committee, along with their head of IT, received letters from lawyers acting for the BPI threatening them with legal action.

Much legal advice and fundraising later PPUK has decided to shut down the Pirate Bay proxy. As a member of the party I find myself stoic to the email I received which read,

“Dear Member, …it is however with a heavy heard that I write to inform you that the proxy server which the Pirate Party UK initially provided in solidarity with other parties in Europe, but later as an anti-censorship resource for UK users, has now been removed and will stay down until either the law is changes or the orders against the ‘Big 6’ ISPs are removed.”

I never agreed with the Pirate Bay proxy and the whole media uproar surrounding the matter has made me embarrassed to be associated with the party. To think PPUK raised thousands fundraising the Pirate Bay proxy issue whilst hundreds of alternative proxies are available elsewhere.

What was the party thinking? Nuts. The party needs to re-consider their arguments and direction. This all starts with the notion of free speech.

Internet Censorship VS Free Speech
One of the biggest events in internet history happened early 2012 when the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) protests took places. This saw major websites, such as Google, blackout their web services and dozens of more companies wrote letters to key members of the US Senate and House of Representatives saying that SOPA posed a serious risk to innovation and job creation, as well as cyber security.

Essentially SOPA would allow copyright holders to challenge the use of their content in any form on the internet. The outcome of which would certainly end file-sharing websites (such as the Pirate Bay) but could also close social networks due to their high use of shared material.

The enforcement of copyright would inevitably lead to the point of censorship. Something which would certainly end the organic growth of the internet, could lead to online policing and the death of social networks. Scary stuff.

SOPA raised some interesting debates which highlighted a linked but distinct difference between internet censorship and free speech. For ISPs to block the Pirate Bay was a matter of internet censorship but not free speech.

According to the Oxford Dictionary:

Free speech [noun] the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint: it violated the first-amendment guarantee of free speech.

As per this definition I do not believe the blocking of the Pirate Bay poses any risk to our free speech on the internet. It is true that continuous censorship could lead to sites that actively celebrate free speech, such as social networking websites, being blocked but it is an outcome which seems highly unlikely. Not even the BPI has enough power to block sites, such as Facebook, operating in the UK!

PPUK’s first principle in their manifesto states,

“Our society is built upon the sharing of knowledge, ideas and culture. It is furthered by freedom of thought and expression, and protected by the role of law. The Pirate Party exists to ensure the preservation and development of these foundations”.

I know that the Pirate Bay operates by giving users the platform to share files between each other – the majority of which is copyrighted. Anybody who clearly thinks anything other than this has not used P2P file-sharing before. Yes, this material is the outcome of knowledge, ideas and culture but is produced material by large media companies.

The UK is becoming a digital economy and cannot operate at full capacity with material being shared freely – sometimes censorship on the internet is required (although totally ineffective…). Individual users should not be accused of copyright infringement but the platforms which allow sharing should be seriously looked at.

Purchased or Public Domain?
Does a consumer first purchase content or is content made available first in the public domain? This is a chicken or egg argument that industry bodies such as the BPI need to consider seriously. Much content made available in the UK across file sharing websites can be downloaded before the ‘legal’ product hits the shelves. This happens for all sorts of reasons; release timings across different countries or beta versions of software before the full article.

Sharing content is the heart beat of the internet and the BPI needs to consider their marketing tactics rather than accuse file-sharing of the demise of their industry. Have they measured the positive effects of YouTube for artists? Popular artists such as Justin Bieber and Gangnam Style have all come to fame through YouTube.

Social networks helps makes musicians money and can certainly provide fame.

Back to the Proxy

I can understand why PPUK wanted to raise the Pirate Bay proxy; it’s an easy media stunt which provided a massive splash. However, the act also almost killed PPUK of all funds and was essentially pointless as plenty of other proxies already exist on the internet.

Instead PPUK should create lots of little media splashes; commenting on social networking developments and stories that deal with internet privacy. This media hijacking could see PPUKs media coverage to be far more positive and introduce plenty of new members to the party. The public needs to take the party seriously, as technological educators who exist to inform the old boys club of how the digital world works.

This is why when I saw the below confirmation from BPI I smiled.

“BPI has today received signed confirmations from Pirate Party UK executives that they will remove proxy access from their website to the illegal site The Pirate Bay,” they said. “BPI welcomes this development. Provided Pirate Party UK complies with the confirmations, no legal proceedings should be necessary.”

It’s time for PPUK to re-visit their media tactics and get some positive public sentiment on their side.

Piracy is not the Answer

Being a student is tough. Further education isn’t just about the pain of reading countless textbooks and spending days in seclusion writing a dissertation. It is learning how to live with very little money – I mean very little. When the student loan comes through and a grant (if you are lucky enough to have one), life becomes a constant deliberation over costs. This blog post is here to say that piracy is not the answer.

For a few days I was pondering over how to obtain Lamb of God’s new album “resolution”.

  • Should I visit a devious torrent site and download the files for free?
  • Should I visit iTunes and pay for the music?

In terms of costs I would have saved myself £9.99 if I downloaded their new album for free. Of course this would mean the band would receive nothing. Yet the question I was battling with was ethical. If I downloaded the album for nothing then it would have been extremely unlikely that I would have been caught or prosecuted. I knew that if I had downloaded for free that I would have a constant itch in the back of my mind that I had the money but decided to withdraw my support from the band, despite loving their music.

The lead screamer for Lamb of God, Randy Blythe, has recently started his own blog. In it he has attached an interview where he went on the record for saying,

“Some bands don’t care if fans illegally download their music and some do, what’s you stance on this?

Except in cases where it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to purchase our music, yes, I fucking care. It sucks. It’s my living. Why is this such a hard concept to grasp?”

I’m not in favour of SOPA which I have recently started to publically protest against on Twitter. That doesn’t mean I’m not surprised with how the legislation was born. The internet has become an important business tool but it is also growing at a phenomenal rate which restricts the creative industry from evolving effectively.

  • Not only has our music become free
  • Journalism is also free
  • Films can be free
  • Books have started to appear online for free

This is all due to file sharing. There is one common argument for keeping torrent websites open, ‘These file sharing sites don’t only host copyrighted material but also legitimate content’.

Just look at the famous torrent website mininova.org (won’t link as I don’t want this blog to be “blacklisted” by Google). They lost a Dutch Court case in 2009 that meant they had to remove all copyright infringing material from their website. Now look at their Alexia traffic status.

Quite clearly the majority of users visited the website looking to infringe copyright law. If I had enough evidence then I would argue the only reason they are still receiving traffic is due to users still searching for that very same infringing material.

It is here that I must re-instate my opinion on the matter of file sharing. When I listened to Stephen Fry discuss the subject of pirating in 2009 he drew a moral distinction between downloading content and committing crimes in life. Stealing a handbag is completely different to downloading an episode of 24.

File sharers should not be prosecuted, demonised by the very industries, which further in life they will be a customer of. In many ways it could be said those who download content do so on the merit of the content’s value. I will be the first to concede that something needs to be done about piracy.

So this blog post is not a scream against piracy, instead a request to consider the wider effect of your actions. Part of my mind feels unsettled that I would have even considered downloading Lamb of God’s new album for nothing. Yet this isn’t because I am a criminal, it is because technology has altered my behaviour. Knowing that free options are available does not make them right.

Every creative industry is suffering due to file sharing. As a keen writer I have hopes of writing a book one day but worry that file sharing will make it an impossible hobby to viably maintain in the long run. Creating creative money costs money and the artists need an income to keep creating.

 

Anyway… back to University work.

Walking into the Red: Visiting Occupy London

Chalked onto a piece of rough wood is a message which reads, “Welcome to the world’s longest occupation! 88 days since last eviction!”. Next to it another sign states despite misconceptions in the news these tents are occupied by army veterans, healers, members of the NHS, office workers – people like me and you.

It didn’t cover the fact that most of the tents were probably not active at all – everything seemed quite quiet. This truly is a peaceful protest. The message proceeded to disprove the current system of cuts the UK has experienced, asking for a fairer system (“just and proportionate”) re-imaging Cameron’s words, “We are the real big society”. They believe change is coming. Is it?

The infamous mask (not captured at Occupy London)

As I gradually made my way to the front of the cathedral warm acoustic notes could be heard from a tent nearby. The guitar first raised my suspicions of the characters lurking beneath the canvas. These members of the Occupy Movement were not Guy Fawkes mask wearing protagonists. Ideologically inclined members of the public may even struggle to describe many members of the movement as comrades. Rather than play Robin Hood from big corporations’ protestors were relying on hand-outs from the public.

Most protestors just seemed, well, homeless. Camping in front of St Paul’s probably allowed them to exist as part of a community united by a common goal – the global Occupy Movement. Their tents pitched for commodity rather than for an argument with capitalism. Had the jobless and homeless joined the movement for a bone to grind or to secure their next meal? Whilst I didn’t feel threatened by the peaceful tent goers, I was wary of being pestered for money. As I moved I could feel watchful eyes monitoring my ever step. Three protestors sat on the floor playing cards, it looked like rummy, and the game seemed ironic considering their choice of scene. A large tent had been erected along the side of St Paul’s selling second hand books, all profits go towards the movement – a homeless movement.

People call this an Occupy Movement but I’m not convinced. As I walked around each of the 100+ tents a variety of signs could be seen painted, strung, chalked and boarded. Messages yearning for a pacifist state, others revealed the corporate injustice of being a carnivore in an effort to promote veganism.

Yes, so-called communist sentiments were present but no sign disproved of a serious current issue. Their argument is with policy makers but knowing exactly which policies they wish to see changed is impossible. Which message is part of the Occupy Movement? Clearly some members wanted to share their own ideas. One tent even featured a web address promoting a zeitgeist movement… whatever that is supposed to mean.

The ‘Big Cats’ were mentioned but the range of messages around St Paul’s Cathedral makes for a confusing protest and one which is looked upon with uncertainty by the public. If the Occupy Movement is wanted to be taken seriously then they should question the members who stand in their ranks. Everyone was unshaven (even one of the women), a guy walked past me supporting the distinct smell of dogs and some eyes met mine with a questioning gaze.

The Occupy Movement in London seems to be a storm in a tea cup. The frequent argument by St Paul’s Cathedral of limited access is fabricated. You could have fitted several trucks between the front door and the nearest tent. Church authorities are probably more concerned with being shown to publically endorse such a movement. A sentiment which I consider hypocritical as I know most messages would be endorsed by a few passionate church goers.

Media coverage has certainly lessened since tents were pitched three months ago. A judge was expected to reach a decision yesterday over the future of Occupy London but still no verdict has been dealt. Just how many more days will the Occupy Movement remain outside St Paul’s Cathedral? No matter the duration their message has certainly reached saturation point.

We all know what is happening. I daresay that I agree with the initial anger which sparked the sales of tents for this very cause. The Western Free Market economy has failed many families across the world. Some cuts are unjustified, the government lending had Karl Max rolling in his grave but we have avoided a more serious depression.

Go vegan this holiday?

I’m not an economist. I’m a blogger. I’m also a free thinker. I had just left a meeting with ex-Microsoft colleagues and decided to see the Occupy Movement through my own eyes. Even at 21 years of age (soon to be 22) I have benefited, in a small way, from one of the largest technology corporations which exist. Whilst the media take the Occupy Movement as a possible threat I couldn’t help but feel that the whole affair is harmless. A mass of tents will not change anything, even as a symbol the protest is frankly laughable – many members were positively homeless and hardly had the energy to lift the plastic bag containing their newspaper.

A serious debate is needed over the western market economy and economists should be wary of the recent history surrounding the credit crunch. No intellectual debate will be found through the ranks of the homeless and hippies. The Occupy Movement therefore doesn’t have my support.

To some readers of this blog this view may not be of any surprise considering my frequent avocation for the conservative view. I don’t have an editor to impress by writing this blog; it is a place of free thought.  I spent money travelling to the Occupy Protest and approached it as a sceptic. Unfortunately they didn’t convince me and their prolonged occupation will end once the tricky situation regarding laws of the land has been resolved. In the spirit of free speech they should be allowed to protest but currently the only thing they demand are your hand outs.

Are you tempted to pitch up your tent?

Bell Pottinger Group were not to Blame

On the 5th December 2011 a video emerged from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism showing Bell Pottinger Group offering reputation management to the despotic regime of Uzbekistan. Countless human rights groups protest due to the country’s use of child labour, torture and media control. Dozens of journalists and activists are systematically tortured in the country’s jails each day. Leader, Islam Karimov, keeps oppression fresh by tolerating no opposition.

Bureau journalists contacted the Bell Pottinger posing as members of Azimov Group stating that the government of Uzbekistan was committed to real change would like to promote good relations with the UK. Bell Pottinger, feeling that this tyranny could do with a spot of reputation management, accepted to meet.

Uzbekistan's Controversial Cotton Fields

Managing Director of Bell Pottinger public affairs, David Wilson, checked after the first meeting that the Uzbekistan government was indeed willing to change their approaches which included child labour, human rights and democracy. The fake Azimov Group agreed.

The key arguments that Bell Pottinger Group will drive for the Uzbekistan presentation (as can be viewed here) are:

–       Uzbekistan is changing. A strong programme of reform is correcting past problems.

–       Uzbekistan is important. Its co-operation with the West has greatly helped US and UK forces in Afghanistan.

–       Uzbekistan can be an excellent trading partner. Its exports are valued and valuable. Its people are becoming more prosperous. The UK should not allow others to get ahead of it in trade with Uzbekistan.

Their Digital PR recommendations were:

–       Drown out negative content

–       Push our messaging to the top of global search engines

–       Direct journalists and internet users to key websites and content

–       Shape the online conversation and debate regarding Uzbenistan’s cotton trade and issues concerning child labour and help to redress the balance in reporting.

I have to reiterate that David Wilson had only agreed to any of this only if the Uzbekistan government was willing to

David Wilson

change. As an expert in public affairs it is rather unusual how David Wilson had not noticed the long history of Uzbekistan not allowing reporters to observe their progress (let alone the jail sentences and torture).

During meetings Bell Pottinger’s close relationship with PM, David Cameron, became apparent. Yet a quick statement by Cameron’s spokesperson denied that lobbying companies influence the government. Clearly not the case, as it did become apparent that Bell Pottinger’s past client, Dyson, had caused the PM to discuss copyright issues with the Chinese PM. Whilst it is true that business matters would be discussed when considering the running of states, it seems unlikely that such a discussion would have materialised from luck.

Bell Pottinger Group were not to Blame
Despite the evidence brought forward from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism I do not believe Bell Pottinger is to blame from the criticisms brought forward by the media since. It strikes unfair how suddenly journalists became outraged by the lobbying industry when their own influence is dubious. I concede that the management exampled by Bell Pottinger on this occasion was not righteous – in places it seemed ignorant considering the extensive history of Uzbekistan.

Instead the investigation raised more questions surrounding the integrity of the lobbying industry, occasionally referred to as ‘the dark arts’. Anybody with an inclination towards politics will know the influence of businesses and states when decision making is in progress. Why shouldn’t lobbyists be transparent and argue for the concerns of the client?

The key point of this investigation was when the bureau said the government of Uzbekistan was seeking real change. Only once this has been announced was the rest of the investigation possible but it was based upon a lie told by journalists. Yes, it provided transparency but under the wrong circumstances. If the Bureau had announced that Uzbeckistan was not seeking changes then I believe Bell Pottinger would have dropped proceedings with pitching the campaign.

Broader education is required publically of the lobbying industry. It starts with providing proper regulation of the industry in the UK. In America a measure of statuary transparency exists which requires companies to disclose client contracts and announce their contact with politicians. A requirement such as this may be the right path to take to ensure integrity remains at the centre of this, at times, questionable industry.

Visiting Oxfam’s Public Relations Department

Founded in 1942 by Quakers and Social Activists Oxfam was once known as the Oxford Committee for famine relief. Today it is an international confederation working within 98 different countries providing humanitarian efforts and running programmes focus on providing communities with necessities such as food, water, education and fair trade.

Thanks to one of our lecturers at the University of Gloucestershire (MD of Leap Frog PR) my final year public relations class had the opportunity to visit Oxfam’s HQ in Oxford. Not only was this a favour on the part of Oxfam but was a valuable learning experience to see how one of the world’s leading NGOs uses public relations to benefit LEDC communities around the world.

News gathering is a key focus of Oxfam’s public relations campaigns. As an NGO Oxfam depend upon different sources of funding, a key focus being on members of the public. As logic would dictate less economically stable times does cause a drop in aid which makes it critical that funding is distributed towards key causes.

Yet the causes displayed in mainstream media do not and cannot always show the stories which matter. With 7 billion humans around the world, millions of separate communities – it is impossible for the media to cover all the news within a 30 minute new segment. Oxfam has the difficult task to sell a crisis, to provide a narrative which will coincide with Grunig and Hunt’s news values.

Certain stories will simply just not make the headlines. Pakistan are currently experiencing floods, which were extensively covered in 2010 by the media, but in 2011 the media focus has wavered. A number of global crisis have passed from view in the news but communities still require recovery help such as in Haiti and Japan. The Ethiopian famine was dropped from news agenda to make way for the revolution in Tripoli. Being part of Oxfam’s public relations team is key as media interest will stir donations which will aid these communities from suffering.

Times have changed which have benefited Oxfam. The recession has dramatically impacted broadcasters from sourcing primary content from abroad (such as live footage and images) which allows Oxfam to provide their own media clippings. This has required public relations professionals to have basic experience of editing media content before sending out to broadcast. The challenge is for Oxfam to find a narratives (usually ones focusing on human impact) to entice the media to address the issues which must be resolved.

Oxfam clearly has a dedicated workforce who love their jobs but I left the building feeling somewhat jaded by the health of our media. Suffering is happening right now, crisis must be addressed but the most important stories often struggle to become mainstream due to competition. Being on Oxfam’s public relations team must be a joy and a frustration – to know one day the world is listening and another day a community will struggle due to less funding.

Clarkson’s One Show Comments Causes Media Uproar

Yesterday evening Jeremy Clarkson began trending worldwide on Twitter due to comments he made during an interview on BBC’s One Show. The Top Gear presenter when asked about public sector strikes responded, “I’d have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families”. His remark caused an immediate on-air apology caused allegedly by thousands of complaints during the show. The uproar is set to continue as trade union, Unison, is considering suing over Clarkson’s comments.

Without a doubt Clarkson planned for his comments to create a media stir, his personality has always relied upon reactionary circumstances and the continuing media focus may even help sell copies of his new Christmas DVD. Yet, as observed by John Prescott on Twitter, “…Clarkson says these things to be outrageous & obviously doesn’t mean it. But I think he’s misjudged the public mood.”

The BBC were quick to issue an apology for Clarkson’s comments on the One Show which simply read, “The One Show apologised at the end of the show to viewers who may have been offended by Jeremy Clarkson’s comments”. Understandably some believe that this is not enough action by the BBC, especially as Clarkson earns a reported £1M from the public sector.

As a budding public relations professional media moments such as this are integral for learning how messages spread and in this case Twitter was certainly the casual of public unrest. Clarkson related tweets trended worldwide which indicates that the majority of users probably were not even viewing the One Show. Ultimately Clarkson’s tone had been removed from the context of the One Show and instead became a negative sentiment which individuals could negatively act upon. His negative comments on public sector strikes became obtuse from humour (Yes, this was originally humour albeit over the line) which begs the question if controversial humour is possible anymore due to inevitable public uproar which will follow online.

My perspective on the matter is the same as Prescott’s. Clarkson misjudged the mood over public sector strikes. I cannot agree with comments such as @hanifleylabi’s Twitter comment to me last night, “he’s a racist, sexist, homophobic, tosser. I don’t find any of those things funny.” As such a view is clearly a misinterpretation of humour which could be equivalent to observing an absurdity such as “Frankie Boyle endorses paedophilia”. Clarkson’s comments did indicate a lack of understanding surrounding public sector strikes.

The gravity of this situation will depend on how far the media decide to take and if Clarkson does end up becoming sued. Whilst the BBC have apologised will Clarkson issue an apology? Unlikely. In these situations Clarkson tends to remain quiet and wait for the storm to blow over.

 

What are your views of Clarkson’s comments?

 

How to Plan an effective Publicity Stunt

This blog post identifies some of the key decisions and research which constructs a publicity stunt. It is not the only approach but it a step-by-step guide which I find useful.

Homer & the giant of Cerne Abbas

Understand your brand’s values
Every brand can be examined for the values it entails. In the case of a publicity stunts this may surround a new service or product. Both the brand and the product/service must be equally weighed up to understand if their values align. It may be that public opinion of a certain brand may wish to be altered as a result of a new product/service. For instance the Land Rover brand may not be seen as widely environmentally friendly but a new vehicle may feature certain environmentally friendly qualities. Map out what this publicity stunt is aimed to change about a brand’s values.

Identify Publics
Once the values behind both brand and product/service have been identified it is time to identify the relevant publics which you wish this message to hit. By default stunts tend to be noticed by everyone but in the case of launching a new Land Rover it may be that consumers will be the main target. In my eyes this would be arranged through primary and secondary stakeholders. Primary stakeholders will be the ones directly impacted by the stunt. Secondary stakeholders (such as employees & shareholders) will witness the consequences. The mix of stakeholder relevancy will depend upon the communication channels used which brings us onto the next point…

Landscape Communication Channels
Not all stunts are conducted in the ‘real world’, some could be based purely online – nevertheless communication channels all converge. The communication channels chosen by a PR professional must align with communicating with primary stakeholders (in this case the consumers) and entail the possibilities to virally spread online. Why? Relying on pitching an idea to a Journalist is nonsensical in an age where much information is already sourced online by Journalists. If a stunt is successful, is spoken about online, then Journalists will automatically notice online discussions and may feature. Clearly Journalists are still an important mediator to publics and so should not be ignored but PR professionals should no longer worry about a Journalist’s personal news preferences when much of the news agenda is already sourced from online discussions.

Brainstorm your ideas
You already have a list of relevant stakeholders, the communication channels have been landscaped and values behind both brand and product/service have been identified. It is time to brainstorm the publicity stunts which would be relevant to raise awareness. This requires a creative edge which is impossible to academically assess. Just avoid value conflicts with your brand (eg, avoid pictures of your Land Rover being filled at a fuel station!). The best ideas are a result of many different opinions, creative genius and value understanding.

 

Would you add anything else?

Do you agree with this approach?

How the UK Government should handle Data Transparency

July 2008 past UK PM, Gordon Brown, became embroiled in a debate concerning data sharing rules after a civil service department lost data which was claimed to be hidden under an “old pals” regulatory system. In response the UK Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas (succeeded by Christopher Graham in June 2009), released a report lobbying for increased transparency between Government, Private Companies and Councils. This is in line with Tony Blair’s speech to the UK e-Summit which outlined how transparency could create a new relationship between citizens and the state. A form of Institutional transparency which declares that the public have a right to know how their personal data is being utilised but with an element of control as outlined through privacy laws. Such an act by the state is intended to gain public trust but will require responsibility on institutions part to lower the risk of further lost data.

Far from a system of Government being viewed under a Machiavellian approach to data usage, it should open to the public. Yet this element of control is a deceit considering the growth of transparency which has been occurring for the last 15 years. Privacy rules only negotiate within matters of law and the government’s approach towards overt transparency is undermined by a radical transparency which is already occurring due to the growth of symmetrical communication online.

The launch of data.gov.uk in 2010 is designed to follow the principles set out by Richard Thomas allowing for non-personal factual data to be made available to the public. Eventually the UK Government will openly share this public data not only for central government but also across the public sector.

Yet transparency is not just concerned with the release of information but from the context it once originated from. Communication on the internet exists as a series of sharing (Re-Tweet, Google+ Share, Facebook Share, etc). Eventually context can be lost behind data due to a Web 2.0 form of Chinese whispers. Whilst the internet across multiple platforms may act as a middle man for communication it does not retain the sincerity or respect that may come from the connotations from where the source of the data appeared from.

Social Media is associated with the cult of the amateur, over simplifications can create inaccurate interpretations. So the government embracing institutional transparency is not only concerned with allowing public data to be freely available but to monitor the sources of where the data is being communicated from. Should a blog like mine have the authority to explain the data behind the Digital Economy Act or should that be left to BBC definitions?

Rather than privacy rules being put in place to act as a rule to control institutional transparency the Government should require guidance for how data should be interpreted once it reaches the intermediary sources (such as Journalists & Bloggers). Even this won’t refrain from misinterpretation but knowing the source context behind public data will assist to reserve data integrity.