Ed from the Open Rights Group writes, "The Conservatives have won an absolute majority in the General Election. The Home Secretary Theresa May has already said that she will use this majority to pass a new Snoopers' Charter." Read the rest
Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "The folks who wrote SOPA are trying to get extremist copyright provisions into the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement -- the one that Congress is trying to 'Fast Track' right now." Read the rest
An excellent op-ed from the Open Rights Group: "When ORG defends privacy, we are fighting to protect people from abuses of power that leave them vulnerable." Read the rest
Pam writes, "Open Rights Group has produced a new satirical film to raise awareness of internet filters - a spoof campaign by the 'Department of Dirty'." Read the rest
The secretive UK investigatory powers tribunal has begun its hearings into the legality of mass surveillance conducted by tapping fiber optic lines, through a Snowden-revealed programme called TEMPORA. Read the rest
The UK Open Rights Group has unveiled a distributed tool that lets you discover whether the sites you love are blocked by the filters promoted by the government. Read the rest
Ruth from the Open Rights Group sez, "With the huge amount of evidence leaked by Edward Snowden on surveillance by the NSA and the GCHQ, the Open Rights Group has compiled a list of the top 6 points that everyone should know about how their rights have been violated. To combat this tide of privacy-invasions ORG also list the 6 key things that they want to do in response, and how you can help the biggest year of campaigning against mass surveillance. We believe that if enough people speak up we can change how surveillance is done."
ORG is great organisation (I helped to found it, but am not involved in its daily operations in any way, apart from marvelling at the staffers and volunteers there) and their game-plan for mapping and securing redress for spy agencies' lawlessness is exemplary. I hope you'll join the group and help out. Read the rest
Jim from the Open Rights Group sez, "The UK's Parliament hasn't debated the consequences of the Edward Snowden revelations once: except to listen to pland reassurances right at the start, and to complain about the Guardian last week. Now Julian Huppert, Tom Watson and Dominic Raab have got a proper debate to open up the real questions about the extent and failure of oversight to prevent dragnet surveillance. If you're the UK, please ask your MP to go to the debate and start asking the difficult questions" Read the rest
The UK's Internet censorship rules allow big rightsholders to provide the country's major ISPs with lists of IP addresses that must be blocked, no questions asked -- an no penalties if the wrong site gets blocked. Case in point: the Premier League demanded censorship of a load-balancing content distribution network that carried many sites, including the Radio Times (a TV/radio listings service formerly owned by the BBC). The blacklists generated by big entertainment companies are kept secret, and the Open Rights Group is pushing ISPs to voluntarily publish the list of censorship orders they receive, so that the public can check them for this kind of negligent error. Read the rest
Jim Killock from the UK Open Rights Group sez, "The Open Rights group, Big Brother Watch, Constanze Kurz and English PEN are challenging the legality of the mass data hoovering by the Uk government revealed by Edward Snowden. They need £20,000 to mount the challenge in the EU Court of Human Rights. They've raised over £3,000 in less than a day: please donate!"
This is very exciting, and looks like the kind of "impact litigation" we see a lot of in the USA, where activist groups can use high courts to strike down bad laws. It's a very effective way of conducting an asymmetrical battle against entrenched, incumbent authorities. Even though I've already made my annual donation to ORG, I've kicked in another £100 for this. Read the rest
Ruth from the Open Rights Group writes,
There are still some tickets left for ORGCon2013! Don't miss out on a rare opportunity to hear John Perry Barlow speak in London, this Saturday June 8th! John Perry Barlow, co-founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation, will be headlining ORGCon2013 along with writer of The Master Switch, Tim Wu.
Debate the big issues hitting the headlines, including the cry for a Snoopers' Charter revival following the Woolwich attack, and the calls for new Internet filters in the light of April Jones' murder. As politicians use the latest tragic news stories as an excuse to regulate the Internet, now is the time to get involved with digital rights!
The final programme has the perfect mix of panel debates, workshops, rapid fire talks and guest lectures! You can look forward to sessions on the Digital Arms Trade, freedom of speech, child protection on the internet, online censorship, copyright, creative citizenship...
Plus, hear from an impressive line-up of speakers including David Allen Green of #twitterjoketrial, Jeni Tennison, Policy Head at the Open Data Institute, Richard Allan Policy Director at Facebook, Diane Duane, Star Trek and Young Wizards writer, and many more! Individual tickets are priced at £28, £16 for ORG supporters and just £6 for students. FREE tickets if you join ORG today!
(Disclosure: I co-founded the Open Rights Group and am pleased to serve as a volunteer advisor to it) Read the rest
Jim from the Open Rights Group writes in with the announcement for this year's ORGCon, a brilliant UK digital rights event:
Legends of digital rights, Tim Wu and John Perry Barlow, will be leading Open Rights Group's 3rd national conference on June 8th. Join us for ORGCon2013 at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Savoy Place, London for the UK's biggest digital freedoms event. ORGCon has always been a sell-out event so grab your tickets now before they all go!Read the rest
This year topics covered include:
Snoopers' Charter: What's the situation now? Jim Killock and the author's of the Digital Surveillance report on what the Government are planning next after the defeat of the Comms Data Bill.
Lessons from creative citizens: How to win at the Internet Sci-fi author Diane Duane (Star Trek, Young Wizards), Simon Indelicate (The Indelicates) and bassist Steve Lawson will be talking about the creative ways they have developed successful artistic careers in the digital age.
What exactly is ORG anyway? Who we are and what we do ORG staff, volunteers, Advisory Council and Board will be sharing their role in ORG and explaining what our work is all about.
Who wins when copyright and free speech clash? Internet law expert Graham Smith (author of the mighty tome Internet Law and Regulation) and Article 19's legal officer, Gabrielle Guillemin, will be tackling this challenging question and looking at some of the conflicting principles.
How to wiretap the Cloud (without anybody noticing) Caspar Bowden, privacy expert, will be giving explaining the serious threat to European citizens' rights from the American law, FISAA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act).
I've written here before that the impending UK press-regulation rules coming in as a result of the Leveson report will inadvertently end up treating bloggers and other everyday Internet users as though they were newspapers, exposing them to the threat of arbitration proceedings where they will have to pay the legal costs of people who want to silence them, and be subject to "exemplary damages" -- enormous statutory fines that grossly exceed any actual harm caused.
Now the Open Rights Group has started a campaign to warn party leaders about this in the three days we have left before Leveson becomes law. We need your help now, or bloggers and the open Internet will become collateral damage in the campaign to control Britain's awful tabloids.
Jim from ORG writes, "The Leveson regulations are being applied to UK websites -- in ways that could catch more or less anyone who publishes a blog. Ordinary bloggers could be threatened with exemplary damages and costs. If this happens, small website publishers will face terrible risks, or burdensome regulation -- and many may simply stop publishing."
(Disclosure: I co-founded the Open Rights Group and am proud to volunteer on its advisory board) Read the rest