Understanding Julian Huppert MP’s support of Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill

Of all the things I might say about Julian Huppert MP, stupid is not one of them – he’s consistently informed, reasoned and principled. Pretty good qualities of an MP, as I think you’d agree.

This makes his support of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill… surprising.

It seems to be a broadly unpopular stance, which (appears) inconsistent with what one might expect from him. I’m pretty sure we won’t change his mind, but I’m interested to try and understand it from his point of view.

My feeling is that he’s making this decision based on data that is privileged to him which he can’t share with us.

His major contribution to the bill, which legalises wholescale spying (including you Facebook, Gmail) in the UK and expands it to include non-UK citizens, is to make it expire in 2016, after the next General Election.

I think this article in the Guardian goes some way to explaining his point of view, and yet skirts the big questions like “but clause 5 and 6 massively change the scope of the bill” to target people outside the UK.

I feel like I’m going /r/conspiracy, and suggesting that lizards in the rotary club control the world, but one hypothesis for the bill seems less outlandish given the backdrop of Edward Snowden’s revelations about GCHQ and our knowledge that multiple foreign ISPs are suing GCHQ in a UK jurisdiction for spying on them.

My suspicion would be that:

  • Julian has been told this bill will be pushed through whether he opposes it or not
  • He’s been given an opportunity to insert some clauses into it, so long as they don’t alter the ones about interception
  • He may or may not have been told semi-directly by a bunch of security types about how GCHQ is in a precarious legal position which the establishment want to shore up

If we took those things as given, then if you look at his approach from his point of view, it kind of makes sense. I don’t support it. But it makes sense.

I guess we might find out after the next General Election when he can talk freely.

Howto access the Pirate Bay if you’re on Virgin Media, Sky, BT, TalkTalk, Be, Plusnet, O2, Orange or T-Mobile

As you may have noticed, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, O2, Be, Plusnet, Post Office broadband, Orange and T-Mobile and others block The Pirate Bay these days because of a BPI order.

Why are they being blocked? The BPI – the music industry body – ordered the block in the high court. Now the BPI want to block other sites like Grooveshark too. The BPI is trying to get these sites blocked more and more.

The people responsible for the block are the BPI – only they can get a court to lift it. The Open Rights Group and UK Pirate Party are campaigning to end the blocking – joining those campaigns will be most likely to make the BPI change its mind.

There are various ways to bypass the block, but let’s start with the easiest way to get around the BPI’s blocking – here are some links to some very simple proxies and mirrors you can use to get on the site:

More mirrors and ways to access it here: