Welcome to the latest Open Rights Group supporters update email.
- 10,000 people tell Europe: keep copyright sound!
- Phorm storm brewing
- The creative community gets down to business
- Don't hack my vote redux: London's e-count
- Next volunteer meeting: Thursday 3 April
More than 10,000 people from all over Europe have signed our petition asking policy-makers to keep copyright sound. Thanks to everyone who made their voices heard. We're now moving into the second phase of our campaign, writing letters to European Commissioners to point them to the evidence that says term extension is a bad idea for our creative future. Our first letter, to Viviane Reding, Commissioner for the Information Society, was signed by representatives from the National Consumer Council, the Green Party (England and Wales), Knowledge Ecology International and the Adelphi Charter. If you represent a group who has a stake in sound copyright - maybe you're an archivist, a documentary film-maker or remix artist - please think about forming your own coalition to write letters to European legislators letting them know your stake in sound copyright.
The story that BT, Virgin and TalkTalk are signed up to trial a new technology called Phorm, which tracks users' online habits in order to serve targeted ads, has caused a storm all over the internet this month. The Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR) say the system is likely to be illegal under laws which govern the interception of communications in the UK. ORG went along to meet Phorm, to find out how their systems work. The result will be a series of detailed blog posts by Richard Clayton, ORG Advisory Council member and FIPR representative. If you're concerned about the implications of Phorm for your privacy, keep your eyes on the ORG blog, or subscribe to our RSS feed for information about actions you can take to protect your privacy online.
We were overwhelmed with applications to attend our Creative Business seminars, which explore how the creative industries are using the Internet to innovate, and the three sessions we held this month didn't disappoint. All three of our case-study digital entreprenurs turned up to answer questions from the audience. For a detailed report, with links to reusable course materials and photos from the seminars, visit the Creative Business blog. Audio recordings to follow shortly.
Our scrutiny of the May 2007 elections caused public outcry and questions in the House of Lords concerning the use of insecure voting systems. Thanks to everyone who answered our call to officially observe the e-count of the London elections this year. We're now registering our observer team with the Electoral Commission, ahead of the elections in May. Why are we worried about e-voting and e-counting? Read our briefing pack to find out.
Our next volunteer meeting, where you guys get up close and involved with our daily grind, will be held at 18.30 on Thursday 3 April. Physical location will be - as usual - central London but we'll have the IRC channel running so everyone can join in. Let us know via the wiki page if you can come. The meeting should run for an hour or so and be closely followed by a friendly glass of ale.
Every week, we spend time talking to the media and connecting them with experts or giving them an alternate point of view on current issues.
- BBC Radio 4, 3 March - "The rise of the fansumer" (No archive) Becky spoke to 'You and Yours' about developments in online advertising, from Facebook's "fansumers" to new, and questionable, practices around targeted ads.
- ZeroPaid.com, 8 March - "British Copyright Term Extension Bill Delayed" Drew Wilson reports our supporters' success in having the second reading of a private member's bill to extend copyright terms delayed in the House of Commons.
- BBC News Online, 12 March - "Open Rights Group questions Phorm" The BBC reports our call for further detail on the workings of Phorm, and our suspicions that the technology is not only intrusive, but illegal.
Mini-links: mySociety special
ORG wouldn't exist without mySociety's Pledgebank, so this month we dedicate our mini-links to them. The civic hackers have recently launched two excellent new sites. And what's this, a mySociety campaign?
- A site that makes it really easy to ask all different bits of the government for information, including local councils
- A site to help you find local email lists or other online groups that cover the area you live in
- The Nice Polite Campaign to Gently Encourage Parliament to Publish Bills in a 21st Century Way. Please. Now.
- Not-at-all mySoc related, but interesting nonetheless - Jonathan Zittrain unveils his new book "The Future of the Internet: And how to stop it" at the RSA on 24 April
Cheers this month to Chris M and Chris A, Marc, Felix, Matthew, Erik, Mandy, Polly and Lydia for helping out at our Creative Business seminars; Sheila and Mike for class work on the website; Rachel for the webstats; Adam for the office network, chocolates and lots of other bits and bobs; Lemon for all-round brilliance; Chris M (again) and James C for development work; Board and Advisory Council for precision guidance and hearty encouragement; all who commented on our Phorm posts; Glyn for the chugging frenzy as well as everything else; all the election observers who got their applications in on time; Owen for the proofing; Wendy, Fernando, Owen (again) and Jordan for their help on the Gowers exceptions consultation; Lilian for helping shape our new net censorship project; Danny and the EFF massive for their continued work on soundcopyright.eu, Gianluca and Vincenzo and the p2p Forum Italia community for the Italian translation (coming soon!); and... you for supporting our work.