November 14, 2012 | Peter Bradwell

Come to our Snooper's Charter campaign event!

On Saturday 24th November we're running a big campaigning event on the Snooper's Charter, jointly with Index on Censorship. We're delighted that Cory Doctorow and a host of the best privacy experts will be there sharing their insights and opinions. You can get your free tickets here.

We'll be covering what's happening with proposal, why it's such a bad idea, and what we can all do about it. You'll come away with top notch, bang up to date knowledge and a bag full of ideas about how to help stop this worrying proposal becoming law.

Tickets are free! You can get them at our Eventbrite page. The event will run from 2pm until 6pm on Saturday 24th November at the Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3GA.

What is the Snooper's Charter?

The draft Communications Data Bill was introduced in the Queen's Speech in May 2012. It involves plans to require communications service providers (everyone from ISPs to social networks) to intercept and collect everybody’s communications data just in case it's needed later in an investigation.

The Bill would mean a substantial increase in the powers the state has to order any communications provider – whether it is an Internet Service Provider (ISP) like BT or an Internet company like Google – to collect, store and provide access to our information about our emails, online conversations and texts.

We are concerned about the way that the data is gathered and the rules governing who can access it and why. The draft Bill is problematic on both counts; we believe too much information will be collected and that there will be inadequate safeguards around access to it. That's why we've dubbed it the Snooper's Charter.

You can download our short briefing (pdf), or see our longer response to the Joint Committee call for evidence for more detail.

What's happening now?

For the past few months the Bill has been scrutinised by a Joint Committee of MPs and peers. This has involved oral evidence sessions (in two of these ORG Executive Director Jim Killock gave evidence) and a call for written evidence. Transcripts of the oral evidence and the written submissions are available at the Joint Committee's website.

They are due to report back in a couple of weeks. This will go a long way to determining whether the Bill proceeds as it is, is modified or is dropped. Whatever they report back about the current Bill, the Government will no doubt be keen to continue to try to pass new surveillance laws in some form.

So it's important to keep working on what's wrong with the Snooper's Charter now and what we need to do in the future. So come along to our free event and help us take action! 

ORG depends on its paying supporters. If you want to help us keep fighting for digital rights, join now - for a limited time, new supporters donating at least £5 per month by direct debit will receive a free copy of Rapture of the Nerds co-authored by Cory Doctorow, a member of our Advisory Council and Charles Stross, one of ORG's founding members.