Every issue is a digital issue

A message from ORG Advisory Council and founding member Cory Doctorow on why digital rights matter.

It’s been ten years since I helped Danny O’Brien and Suw Charman-Anderson found ORG, because the UK needed its own campaigning digital rights group.

A decade ago, it was rare to hear politicians speaking about the need for a free, open Internet — and even rarer to meet one who understood what that meant. Despite the number of foot-in-mouth inanities mumbled by today’s crop of technologically ignorant pols, it was much, much worse then.

And of course, today, every issue is a digital issue: you can’t talk about the economy, security, health or education (let alone elections) without talking about digital rights.

Every issue is a digital issue: from mass surveillance to how you read your ebooks; from parody and making backups to NHS data sharing; and of course, every flavour of privacy, including the phone companies’ misuse of your personal information.

Politicians today recognise this, but they don’t understand it. Every tech policy out of Westminster is a silly quick-fix that provides a good headline but makes things worse. Think of “web filters” which are supposed to protect children, but still let through mountains of porn, while denying kids access to legitimate, important information and unaccountably blocking access to charities and other sites.

When politicians get it wrong, ORG tells them — and the world — about it.

ORG is in it for the right reasons: a society free from unaccountable surveillance and censorship; a state that is transparent and accountable; and an Internet that is available for all as a force for creativity, agency, and freedom.

This election, ORG will make politicians commit to those values. Elections are the one time politicians *have* to listen to the voters.

We need your support so that digital rights are always where they belong: right in the centre of every debate.

ORG is up to *3,000* members, and has been doing fantastic work for a decade. Today ORG celebrates that history by looking to the future with Digital Rights Matter Day. Members are sharing their stories about the importance of digital rights on social media.

That’s where you come in: please join and share your story and help us keep the Internet free and open.


Thank you,