Press releases

Press releases

June 14, 2012 | Jim Killock

Snooping announcement expected this morning

Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"Today Cameron is appearing at the Levenson Inquiry, and at the same time the government is releasing its plans to snoop on the Internet. This is a very bad sign that they want to 'bury bad news'."

ORG has convened an emergency briefing with Privacy International and Big Brother Watch for MPs and journalists in Committee Room 18 at Parliament at 2pm to discuss the proposals.

ORG is also running campaign training events across the country.

[Read more]

May 31, 2012 | Peter Bradwell

Open Rights Group welcomes ACTA votes in European Parliament

Responding to today's committee votes in the European Parliament, which saw the JURI, ITRE and LIBE Committees all vote against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, Peter Bradwell of Open Rights Group said:

"This is a strong signal that more and more MEPs recognise ACTA is so badly flawed, in so many ways, that it must be rejected. Together the votes are a protest against an unnecessarily imbalanced and ill-considered treaty.

There is still a long way to go before ACTA is finally defeated. The final vote in the European Parliament is in a months time. We need to continue to convince more MEPs that ACTA puts our privacy and freedom of expression at risk and is an affront to democratic principles."

For more information contact Peter Bradwell on 07811 268398 or


[Read more]

May 15, 2012 | Peter Bradwell

New ORG report reveals UK mobile Internet censorship

Open Rights Group and LSE Media Policy Project launched a new report, 'Mobile Internet censorship: what's happening and what we can do about it' [1]  on Monday 14th May.

The report reveals widespread over-blocking, showing that political commentaries, personal blogs, restaurants' sites and community websites have been blocked incorrectly on mobile networks' child protection filters.

It calls on mobile operators to give parents an 'active choice' to turn filters on, and to be far more transparent about how their systems work.

The report also argues that applying similar blocks to fixed-line broadband, something advocated by Claire Perry MP, will have the same damaging consequences.

Peter Bradwell of Open Rights Group and author of the report, said:

"This report shows how child protection filters can actually affect many more users than intended and block many more sites than they should. These blunt blocks effectively add up to a system of censorship across UK networks. 

The lessons for 'porn filter' proposals are clear. Default-on blocks can have significant harmful and unintended consequences for everybody’s access to information.

To help protect children online, the Government should reject 'default on' network filtering and work to give parents simpler choices and better, device-based tools."

For more information contact Peter Bradwell on 07811 268398 or

[1] The report, a joint publication by Open Rights Group and LSE Media Policy Project, can be downloaded here: 
[2] More detail can be found on Open Rights Group's blog: 
[3] Responses from Index on Censorship, NSPCC, the Mobile Broadband Group, the think-tank Demos and others will be published by LSE Media Policy Project through the week.

[Read more]

May 09, 2012 | Jim Killock

Comms Data Bill: will mean widespread snooping powers

This is a direct attack on the Coalition's promise to end the storage of email data without good reason.

Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group, responding to the Communications Data Bill announcement in the Queen's Speech said:

"This is a direct attack on the Coalition's promise to end the storage of email data without good reason.

"Gaining access to your Facebook and Google data without court supervision is not preserving powers, it is a massive extension of the ability of a police officer to see what you are doing.

"It would be wide open to abuse, endangering whistleblowers and journalists' sources.

"The interception powers open a whole new can of worms. No law has ever previously claimed that people's communications data should be collected by third parties just in case. This data has never been previously collected.

"This Bill could mark the end of the government's reputation as a force for protecting our freedom and privacy. They should scrap it now."

[Read more]

May 04, 2012 | Jim Killock

Cameron wrong to push default porn blocks

Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"We welcome a consultation but default filternets are awful. They block a wide range of innocent material; and nobody should be advocating broader and simpler censorship. 

"All the independent evidence has pointed to giving parents simple tools and choices. There is no need to create network level censorship in the name of a porn opt-in."

[Read more]

May 03, 2012 | Jim Killock

Will London's election be open to fraud or error?

TODAY the Open Rights Group are warning that the London electronic count may be open to fraud or error, without any easy means to determine if results are correct.

As a result, they are sending a voluntary team of election Observers to watch the London election votes being collected and tomorrow, counted electronically.

At the last election, ORG declared that they were unable to view the election as safe. Jim Killock, Executive Director, said:

"We will be assessing how easily the machines could be tampered with, and whether it is possible to manually verify that the software has not been tampered with.

"We all know that computers can be hacked and can break down. In an election, this makes electronic counting vulnerable to fraud or error, as well as expensive to run.

"We will watch the count, and give our views to the Electoral Commission."

The changes ORG asked for after the last election included public examination of the software code and manual sample counts of the ballot papers, in order to verify the electronic count. Neither call has been met.

[Read more]

April 30, 2012 | Jim Killock

Pirate Bay block is short sighted and too broad

Reacting to the High Court's Order to block the Pirate Bay Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"Blocking the Pirate Bay is pointless and dangerous. It will fuel calls for further, wider and even more drastic calls for Internet censorship of many kinds, from pornography to extremism.

"Internet censorship is growing in scope and becoming easier. Yet it never has the effect desired. It simply turns criminals into heroes."

[Read more]

April 27, 2012 | Jim Killock

Labour wrong to back Claire Perry "default blocking"

Reacting to the Daily Mail's reports that Labour would be backing Claire Perry's calls for default blocking of adult content, Jim Killock said:

"Default blocks are a form of censorship. If placed in networks, they could create a national infrastructure for censorship.

"Default blocks on mobile are disrupting churches, blogs, chat sites and political campaigns. They are automatic and catch the wrong things. Persuading the majority of the population to live with censorship would be wrong."

[Read more]

April 18, 2012 | Jim Killock

Claire Perry's "default blocking" would censor adults and fail children

Commenting on Claire Perry's committee findings, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"These recommendations, if enacted, would endanger children, create disruption for small business, and would not work technically.

"Default filtering is a form of censorship. Adults should not have to "opt out" of censorship. Governments should not be given powers to default censor legal material that adults see online.

"Our work on mobile networks is showing that default censorship is disrupting businesses, campaign groups and bloggers. Yet it is trivial for a child to avoid the network blocking that Claire Perry recommends - sites using https are invisible to network blocks. Furthermore, default blocks may be appropriate for some older children, but too weak for others.

"Parents need help, but 'default blocking' is an appalling proposal."

Claire Perry's inquiry report recommends:

  • Government initiate a formal review of an Opt-In filter to access adult material on the internet;
  • The Government should press for accelerated implementation plans for “Active Choice”; the content filtering system proposed for new internet customers by the largest ISPs;
  • Within 12 months, ISPs should roll out “single account” network filters that provide one-click filtering for all devices connected to the same internet account;
  • A single regulator should take lead responsibility on internet safety;
  • Public Wi-Fi networks should have a default adult-content bar;
  • Government and industry should draw up new guidelines to publicise existing safety settings on computers and internet-enabled devices;
  • ISPs should provide more support and signposting for internet safety education.


[Read more]

April 13, 2012 | Jim Killock

ORG welcomes David Martin MEP saying he is minded to reject ACTA

Speaking after David Martin MEP's seminar on ACTA and the UK, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"ACTA would be a blow for democracy, and must be rejected. The EU Parliament has a duty to stand up for civil liberties and seek better proposals on copyright and patent enforcement. ACTA endangers trade in cheap medicines, as well as our free speech online.

"The [Edinburgh] debate was surprising and well-informed. We hope David Martin MEP holds firm to his views."

[Read more]