If you're a supporter of Open Rights Group, can you help boost our strength to fight the biggest battle against surveillance yet?
As part of our drive to hit our significant goal of 2000 supporters – and to let us do a whole host of work defending privacy over the next years, we'd like you to help us recruit new supporters to fight alongside us. By explaining how important the current surveillance debate and the leaks are, we hope your friends will want to join up to ORG to help fight intrusive and over-reaching snooping.
The best way to help us increase our membership and get your sign-up rewards is to find a friend who you know should be a member of ORG. Maybe a friend who:
Voices fears about all the data companies like Facebook know about them
Is worried about Government surveillance
Has been sharing links on their Twitter account about the Snowden revelations
Is interested in preserving freedom of speech for minority groups
Is passionate about social justice and human rights work.
ORG are a small organisation. We’ve achieved a great deal with the resources that we have, but without expanding our staff and our funding we won’t be able to expand our remit and achieve all of the above.
If you're struggling to seal the deal and convince someone to become an ORG supporter, maybe these 3 points will help make up their mind.
1. Surveillance threatens both the right to a private life and the right to freedom of speech. This is fight is the biggest threat we've seen and ORG is the best equipped to fight it.
2. ORG have made real change on copyright, parody, open source, open data, privacy, free speech, e-voting and DRM. Joining ORG doesn't just help turn back the tide on surveillance culture, it's a long-term investment in your rights online.
3. Being a supporter gives you lots of benefits, like discounted tickets to all our events, a free gift in our welcome pack and chances to influence our policy and the digital debate for years to come.
This summer we learned that the UK's intelligence agency GCHQ routinely collects everybody's online data. They can do this without specific warrants, with little oversight, and there has been little debate about the scope of their power.
Tempora is a UK GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) programme that stores all data flowing through UK fibre optic cables so that it can be analysed by GCHQ staff. The Tempora programme allows for collection of what sites people visit, search terms used and social media posts.
PRISM refers to a US NSA (National Security Agency) operation begun in 2007 to collect private information belonging to users of major US internet companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo. The leaks by Snowden suggest that the NSA has direct access to the servers of these companies.
There's also a handy guide on the Verge which helps explain what's going on and what all these other acronyms floating around mean.
The quiet state of surveillance silences everyone. Confidentially is a serious matter. People who are under surveilllance are afraid to speak or act openly. If someone thinks their movements are being recorded, they might not want to:
-book into a women's shelter
-carry out their investigative journalism
-talk about their sexuality openly on a private forum
-plan a demonstration.
The surveillance revelations are incredibly serious and have a chilling effect.
It's not just our security services who have access to this data, it's agencies and private contracters across the world.
With that many people watching and recording it is inevitable that we will start to censor ourselves, clarifying, altering and avoiding controvosy - and freedom of speech is lost.
We have alread launched a legal challenge alongside English PEN and Big Brother Watch to take the Government to Strasbourg on human rights grounds. We have responded to President Obama's review board of the NSA and we have been speaking to the media constantly to raise awareness privacy rights.
We also took on and defeated the Snoopers' Charter, a proposal for mass surveillance legislation, after a 2-year campaign, co-ordinating with a huge group of civil liberties organisations.
We have the knowledge and skills to take this challenge on, but there are some big tasks we need to be able to take on to win.
ORG wants to be able to:
-Bring Bruce Schneier to the UK to share his expertise with Parliament, give evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee inquiry.
-Produce a report into the impacts of PRISM and Tempora on UK businesses
-Bring the issue back to page one of the papers, having the time to do more media work.
-Organise and assist cryptoparties around the country and educate people about privacy
-Run an MP Lobby Day to mass petition parliament for change
-Persuade other campaign groups that defending privacy should be part of their mission.
We're relying on ORG supporters like you to spread the word so we can meet this challenge that Edward Snowden's given us.
If they have any questions about what we do, we're happy to take the time to chat on phone or email. Anyone can join up here.