We take a look at what happened at ORGCon2014, our national conference on digital rights.
Thank you so much for coming to ORGCon2014, we hope you had a brilliant time, and enjoyed learning and meeting with the digital rights community. It was really lovely to meet so many of our supporters there.
(Download the pdf programme here.)
On 15th - 16th November, we ran our national conference: ORGCon2014. We tried something new this time, running it over two days. Saturday was a packed day of talks and panels on digital issues from a brilliant group of speakers, and then on Sunday we held a smaller day of activism with workshops on campaigning, and a continuous hack stream with some amazing inventions built on the day (more on that to come).
Held at the KCL campus, our first day had the highest ever ORGCon attendance, with over 400 people coming through the doors.
Our opening talk was ORG founder and sci-fi author Cory Doctorow. An activist who has given a great deal of his time and energy to digital rights campaigning, Cory led with a fascinating and funny talk about DRM, the content locks put on our music and ebooks. He spoke about the key themes of his new book Information doesn't want to be free, developing the point: "Anytime someone puts a lock on a piece of your work, without giving you the key, it's not for your benefit".
It’s been a challenging year as post-Snowden revelations, the Government continues to erode our privacy in, as Don't Spy on Us Campaign Director Mike Harris put it last week, ‘bite-size chunks’.
At ORGCon we responded by sharing the real effects of the surveillance state. In 'Surveillance, whistle-blowing and the media' and 'Nothing to Hide, Nothing to fear,' Journalists and campaigners from various walks of life spoke to us about how surveillance chills our free speech, and changes our behaviour. There were also sessions on ORG's ongoing legal challenges and also the brilliant victory of Digital Rights Ireland in winning their case against data retention at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
We then put those issues to our guest politians: Julian Huppert Liberal Democrat MP, Claude Moraes Labour MEP and Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader. We asked them how we can get politicians to talk about digital rights, and where their parties stand on these issues.
Natalie Bennett, spoke about digital rights and freedoms as just new areas for rights and freedoms to be invoked. In response to how we can get more politicians talking about these issues she said that we need more education.
Claude Moraes MEP, Chair of LIBE, spoke about balancing privacy vs security, and stated that he was in favour of producing a 'digital bill of rights.' Julian Huppert MP, Lib Dem Home Affairs, focused on searching for more cross-party agreement. He argued that a many of the problems with talking about online privacy stem from MPs not understanding technology, "A lot just don't get it [digital issues] so take very simplistic views". He encouraged the audience to vote for people who are on-side with digital rights regardless of party. We will be talking to more MPs about their stance on digital rights in the new year with voting debates/hustings held across the country.
Review: There’s a set of brilliant write-ups of the event from ORG Board Director Owen Blacker, who managed to capture several of the sessions with in-depth coverage, and I didn't want to repeat him here. Read them all at: https://medium.com/orgcon-2014
And at VPN Compare you can read Christopher Seward's review of the day.
Photos: Our photographer, Joseph Kesisoglou, took some great pictures which we've uploaded to our Flickr album, with more on their way. If you have other photos on the site, please add them to the orgcon tag (all the pictures up so far a CC-BY-SA so feel free to use them in your blogs.)
Videos: Video recordings of the sessions will be up soon, but are still in the process of being edited.
Your blog: If you have written a blog or report on ORGCon we would love to share it and hear your thoughts, so please let us know in the comments. If you also have any specific feedback on orgcon, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Feedback: If you haven't sent back your feedback form (the inside back of your programme) please do so. We want to know how to make next year's even better!