June 04, 2014 | Ruth Coustick-Deal

Big announcement: Strengthening ORG’s legal work

Our new Legal Director started this week and she is about to begin a series of new legal actions to defend your privacy and free speech.

ORG’s first full time Legal Director started work this week. ORG is extremely grateful for the generous help of its supporters, who have made this new role possible. ORG sought new members and funding through its #ORGLawFund campaign. Thanks to the commitment of old and new supporters we reached a total of 2100 supporters this year, which allowed us to hire a Legal Director to work full time.

In this post our new Legal Director, Elizabeth Knight, discusses ORG’s upcoming legal work:

"I am delighted to be starting as ORG’s new Legal Director. I’m looking forward to working for such a dynamic organisation, and helping with ORG's vitally important and high profile work. I hope that having a full time Legal Director will allow ORG to increase its impact through litigation and bring legal expertise to its already strong policy work.

A bit about me: I'm a solicitor. I have experience of working for NGOs, as well as in the city and for the Government. Most recently I spent four months at Amnesty International where I authored a major advocacy document and worked on issues around surveillance. I hold a Masters degree in Human Rights. I have undertaken an internship at the UN, working on international law and human rights. I was also awarded a pro bono fellowship by my previous firm and worked at a human rights NGO in South Africa. I practise litigation, which has included human rights, judicial review and intellectual property work.

There are a lot of exciting legal projects planned. One of the major issues I will be working on is Error 451 and copyright blocking orders.

This campaign aims to establish a transparent format for legal website blocks, including details of the legal basis, the court order and the organisation responsible for the block. There are many problems with copyright infringement court orders, including being indefinite, part private, and lacking both a complaint mechanism and any requirement that information be made available to the general public.

We intend to obtain lists of and copies of court orders, transcribe the orders and promote the Error 451 code to ISPs. This project has the potential to set best practice internationally and ORG is very enthusiastic about it. If you are interesting in volunteering to help transcribe and publish court orders please contact me as we would welcome your help!

Another major area of work in the near future is campaigning on data retention in the UK, following the striking down of the Data Retention Directive by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

In our view there is now no legal basis for data retention in the UK. Our planned approach is to ask our supporters to write to their ISP and then potentially complain to the Information Commissioner in the event that the ISP refuses to cease retaining the supporter’s data. It may also include court action. More details on this new campaign will be available shortly!

I look forward to updating you soon with news of legal developments." -Elizabeth Knight


Thank you once again to all our supporters for making this position possible. We will keep you to update with our legal actions and
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Comments (1)

  1. Matt Harwood:
    Jun 16, 2014 at 01:23 PM

    Welcome, Elizabeth! It's vital work, critical to the ongoing campaign to rationalise technological rights. It's heartwarming to read that ORG supporters pulled together for this one so well!