Monday, 6 February 2012

It could be me

I was very concerned about the anti-terror extradition treaty with the USA when it first came into operation. From what I have read about it, this is an extremely dangerous treaty because it is inequitable. It is arguable that those tests which the US applies to a case before extradition are not the same as those which the UK relies upon. But the most worrying aspect about is that you or I could, in theory, be extradited to the US for something which is not illegal in the UK. The current case of the student implicated in intellectual property - copyright - infringement is just such a situation. The student hosted a site which contained links to other sites which were infringing copyright. For goodness sake, any search engine or directory of any sort may do that - to date - with impunity.

Think about it. I have several website which I control. On those sites I have links. Admittedly I'm not promoting my sites because of the links they contain (which the student was doing and from which he derived income.) But let's look further at this. Any of those links may change at any time. For instance, someone may surrender their domain and another unscrupulous operater may take it over and point it to something else. I wouldn't necessarily notice. If we take this little example to its limits, in theory I could find myself in a US jail for having done nothing which is illegal in the UK.

I've been trying to get a new little business off the ground for about four years now. I've been searching for a particular software platform on which to run it. There is nothing yet suitable in the UK but there is something which resides in the US which does the job. However with the current extradition treaty operating as it does and being used for things other than the terrorism threat for which is was designed, there's no way I'm going to resort to using a US system just in case I fall foul of some American law.

I wonder how many other entrepreneurs are thinking the same way as me? Yes, I've written to my MP to state my concerns and asked him to pass the last point to the relevant minister.

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