Press releases

Press releases

June 26, 2012 | Jim Killock

Reaction: Ofcom DEA code will lead to wrongful court cases

Responding to the consultations on costs and the Ofcom code, covering accusations, warnings and Appeals, Jim Killock said:

"Digital revenues are going up, the music and film industry are moving in the right direction, yet this cumbersome policy is still lumbering forward.

"Ofcom are being asked to put lipstick on a pig with this code.

"The appeals are a joke. The Government has decided that 'I didn't do it' is not a defence. Some people will almost certainly end up in court having done nothing wrong."

Key points of the code

* Consumers will have to pay £20 to appeal
* There is no fixed standard of evidence, although Ofcom will examine the methodologies
* Grounds for appeal have been narrowed, and only include matters of factual accuracy of the accusation
* An accusation may relate to anyone using a connection, not just the person receiving a letter
* Commercial Wifi operators have been excluded, but libraries, hotels and bars sharing broadband connections over Wifi will have to refute accusations relating to their customers
* In court, only accusations relating to the person accused would be relevant. Accusations relating to others (householders, customers etc) would not be relevant.

[Read more]

June 14, 2012 | Jim Killock

Open Rights Group response to publication of Communications Data Bill

Responding to the publication of the Communications Data Bill Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group said:

"The government's notes confirm that this is exactly what we expected: black boxes to intercept people's traffic data, and poorly supervised police powers to get access to it.

"Bluntly these are as dangerous as we expected, and represent unprecedented surveillance powers in the democratic world.

"China and Iran will be delighted."

ORG, Big Brother Watch and Privacy International will be hosting a press and MP briefing today at 14:00.  More information

Clause 1 increases powers to compel operators such as G and F to hand over data. Some safeguards to check but no court supervision, self authorised
Part 2 : interception to collect data allows direct or delegated collection (Clauses 14-16 and Schedule 1). Relies on Interception of Communications Commissioner to supervise the arrangements.

[Read more]

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]