Feeds

MP urges Royal Mail rethink on postcode site takedown

Petition demands free database for non-profits

Boost IT visibility and business value

Tom Watson MP has fired off a letter of complaint to the Royal Mail Group, in which he grumbles that the UK postal service’s legal action against a two-man operated postcode lookup site was a "heavy handed" and "deeply regrettable" move.

The Labour politician and ex-government minister for digital engagement asked the Royal Mail’s chief Adam Crozier to reconsider the firm’s decision to instruct lawyers to threaten ErnestMarples.com with legal action.

As we reported earlier this week, the North London-based UK postcode lookup service was slapped with a cease and desist letter from Royal Mail’s lawyers on 2 October that forced it to close down the website.

Before then, the Ernest Marples site had been providing web outfits with an API to power their sites that helped people search for a wide variety of local information such as tracking down the nearest decent greasy caff or finding out about nearby planning applications.

"I take the position that the postcode file and the data set of physical coordinates that go with it are a national asset that should be freely available to any UK citizen," Watson said.

The MP for West Bromwich East told Crozier that he planned to raise the matter in the House of Commons next week.

Ernest Marples directors Richard Pope and Harry Metcalf have also written to the Royal Mail lawyers, urging a debate about use of the contentious Postcode Address File (PAF) database, which currently requires companies and individuals to fork out annual licensing fees.

"There is a significant need for postcode data to be made available on more practical terms. We would very much like to open a dialogue with your client in order to see if a productive and mutually beneficial way forward can be found," wrote Pope and Metcalf.

Meanwhile, campaigners have started a online petition asking the PM, Gordon Brown, to "encourage the Royal Mail to offer a free postcode database to non-profit and community websites." It has so far garnered a little over 500 signatures. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?