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Press releases

Press releases

November 23, 2012 | Peter Bradwell

Sobering lessons for the government from the latest Ofcom research on copyright infringement

Reacting to Ofcom's new research into online copyright infringement, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:
"Only 16% of respondents said they would stop unlawful file sharing if sent a letter by their ISP. 

"The Government hoped the Digital Economy Act would reduce filesharing by 70%. This calls into question how effective these measures will be. 

"These are exactly the sort of questions that Government should have looked at properly before passing the law. Instead, they stuck with guess work. DCMS admitted to us that they had no evidence of their own when they wrote the Digital Economy Act. 

"This is a mess of a law: expensive and likely a waste of time, as well as threatening to infringe our fundamental rights. It should be repealed."

[Read more]

October 23, 2012 | Jim Killock

ORG urges caution over web blocking orders

In response to the BPI's call to block three websites before Christmas, Jim Killock Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"Web blocking is an extreme response. The orders are often indefinite and open ended, and will be blocking legitimate uses. The BPI and the courts need to slow down and be very careful about this approach.

"The BPI seem to be trying to speed things up and that is not good. It will lead to carelessness and unneeded harms.

"As an approach, censorship is a bad idea. It leads to more censorship, and is unlikely to solve the problem it seeks to address.

"Digital music is going through a period of real growth because it is trying to innovate: this is a much more effective approach than copyright crackdowns."

The sites are Fenopy, H33t and Kickass Torrents


According to the IFPI, digital album sales in the UK were up 27% in 2011. See also the Telegraph.

[Read more]

October 16, 2012 | Jim Killock

ORG congratulates CNIL

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

"It's good to see European data protection authorities take action so that users gain control of their data.

"This must be backed by strong new data protection powers, for fines based on turnover, and rights to retrieve and to delete your data."


CNIL: Google's new privacy policy : incomplete information and uncontrolled combination of data across services


The Open Rights Group, founded in 2005, is supported by 34,000 activists and funded by 1400 subscribers. It works to defend civil liberties in the digital world.

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October 11, 2012 | Jim Killock

Neelie Kroes is right to demand DNT action

Jim Killock, who is an invited expert on the W3C panel for Do Not Track (DNT), welcomed Neelie Kroes' demands for DNT to be rich and meaningful.

"We have seen attempts by advertisers to stall, water down and even exclude ad tracking from the new standard.

"Do Not Track is a great idea, but could easily be meaningless. If it fails to protect our privacy, then advertising profiling companies are likely to come under renewed attack from legislators. The ad groups who are pushing to make DNT full of holes should realise they are damaging their own industry in the long run."

[Read more]

September 14, 2012 | Jim Killock

Demos Data Dialogue report

Reacting to the Demos Data Dialogue report, Jim Killock said:

"The government needs to pay close attention to this report's finding that 70% of people want a "right to delete" and a "right to retrieve" their data.

"These rights are in the EU's draft data protection regulation, but UK officials have been arguing to water down or remove them, after pressure from business.

"But the Demos report shows that businesses need customer confidence, which relies on these strong new protections." [1]


[1] Finding 6 page 15 shows there was high demand for a variety of reassurance measures overall. Of particular value was the 'ability to withdrawm data' (73 per cent) and to 'see what information is held on me' (70 per cent).

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August 31, 2012 | Jim Killock

Porn filtering: stop the Daily Mail Nanny State

With less than a week to go before the close of the "adult content" filtering consultation, Open Rights Group is urging people to let the Department for Education know that default blocking would be disastrous.

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

"We know filters always block the wrong sites. Casual mentions of sex get sites blocked. Health education sites are blocked. Even chat sites, bars and clubs are considered reasonable to block for children.

"So you don't want to induce adults to live with this sort of filtering. But that is what the Daily Mail and Premier Christian Media have convinced the Department of Education to do.

"We need an outbreak of common sense to stop this, before we find the Daily Mail's Nanny State becomes a reality."

The consultation closes next Thursday.


DfE Consultation page

ORG campaign page

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July 04, 2012 | Jim Killock

ACTA victory!

Responding to the ACTA vote, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"This is a tremendous victory for the movement, for democracy and for every European citizen that has demanded that their rights be respected.

"ACTA must be abandoned. The Commission must drop its calls to try again.

"ORG would like to thank the thousands of activists from the UK that helped persuade MEPs to stand up for democracy."

The vote 478 against, 39 in favour with 165 abstentions.

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June 28, 2012 | Jim Killock

We must not set up network censorship

Reacting to the DfE's new consultation, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:
"This can of worms pushes censorship technologies and could damage access to perfectly legitimate and innocent websites.
"Giving parents tools is great, but 'Nanny State' filtering using government approved technologies is bound to fail the people it is designed to protect.
"This is a Government looking for headline grabbing solutions to complex solutions. They need to think again."

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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.

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