As the UK government ramps up to pass the snooper's charter — a sweeping, unaccountable regime of tax-funded, warrantless snooping on all online activity — the Open Rights Group is offering workshops across the country on how to talk to your MP about this proposal. Workshops are coming up in London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham and Bristol.
We're running these training sessions that will help you learn about two of the biggest current digital rights issues and practice how to discuss them with your MP. We'll be covering two big topics:
1. The "Snoopers' Charter" – aka the Communications Data Bill – was announced in the Queen's speech and is about to be published by the government. The bill will create new powers to intercept and collect information about who you talk to online. Your communications via Google, Facebook or Skype will now be open to what may be a large number of government officials. We want to see the powers to collect and access communications data tightened up, not extended ever further.
2. Internet censorship. The government is considering whether Internet Service Providers should have to block websites that contain 'adult content' by default, with an 'opt out' for uncensored access. That would mean an infrastructure of censorship that could, through mistakes, abuse or mission creep, lead to more and more content being blocked for people in the UK. Our research on mobile Internet censorship recently showed how often the wrong websites can be filtered, for example. We want to prevent this further move towards private policing of the internet and free speech, and recommend better ways to help parents manage their children's Internet access.
(Disclosure: I am proud to have co-founded the Open Rights Group and to volunteer on its advisory board)