The Internet Strikes Back

After SOPA and PIPA: the Entertainment Industry Needs to Adapt not Resist

The 18th January saw the Internet rise up and rear its head in an unprecedented show of force, with online giants such as Google, Wikipedia and Reddit leading a massive campaign against SOPA and PIPA, the planned anti-piracy bills being debated in the US Senate and Congress. Perhaps most hard-hitting, especially to students, was the terrifying ‘black-out’ of Wikipedia, which asked hapless users to “imagine a world without free knowledge.” Social networking sites soon began to buzz with talk about the dangers of the planned piracy bills, and by the end of the day political support for the bills had crumbled. American lawmakers and politicians began to realise just how much they had underestimated the power of the internet. Continue reading

Jack Straw on Britain, Europe and the EU’s “existential crisis”

Jack Straw came to UCL last month and gave an inaugural lecture on Britain and Europe, after having been named Visiting Professor in Public Policy. Throughout his 33 year career the Labour MP has had experience in nearly every senior cabinet position, having served as Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Lord Chancellor and Leader of the House of Commons. Continue reading

Debating the British Bill of Rights: Shami Chakrabarti at Europe House

The European Parliament’s  office in the UK recently held a debate at Europe House as part of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2011. The topic was centred around the controversial British Bill of Rights, proposed as an alternative to the current system based on the Human Rights Act Continue reading

Why reforming the House of Lords should be a priority

The House of Lords represents a long-standing paradox in the UK. Despite proudly proclaiming ourselves as the world’s oldest parliamentary democracy, we continue to grant significant powers to an unelected elite, some of whom are selected solely on the basis of their noble birth or religious affiliation. But whilst all three major political parties are officially committed to democratic reform of the upper house, achieving this goal any time soon remains an unlikely prospect… Continue reading