Press releases

Press releases

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.

[Read more]

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."

[Read more]

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.

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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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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


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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.

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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."

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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."

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