- Write to your MP today: stop the privacy timebomb
Despite the near-constant flow of personal data leaking from various Government (and private sector) organs, ministers and civil servants fail to appreciate that centralised databases present fundamental difficulties. We have gathered resources that help you contact your MP to question the appalling practices and associated culture of disregard for personal privacy. There's a dynamite blogpost and extensive wiki pages for your use. As ever, please document your communications with elected representatives on the wiki or blog because personal stories will encourage others to get involved. My MP has not responded to my letter so my next step is to ask them in person at a constituency surgery.
- Gentle prod to annual supporters: escape ignominy and harassment by remembering your yearly donations
Most of you are great at remembering when your annual donation is due to ORG. But unfortunately there are some bad apples. If your annual donation is not in our PayPal or bank account in the expected month then rest assured our merciless drones shall be dispatched to collect it, placing your lavish lifestyle and loved ones at unnecessary risk. So please, do the right thing: Support ORG (and protect your bits).
- Consultations on Data Sharing and extending the scope of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act
We will produce two consultation submissions in the next six weeks and ask that you help enlighten our responses. The Data Sharing Review concerns the use and sharing of personal information and includes questions about whether the Information Commissioner should have greater enforcement powers. We have both a wiki page and a Consult page to structure your engagement. In the same vein of encouraging transparency, scrutiny and accountability, our other current consultation asks how to oblige private sector organisations that deliver public services with FoI regulations. Again, there's both a wiki page and a Consult page to encourage your engagement. These consultations were announced a few months back to support claims about Government's openness. Let's make sure they live up to these claims.
- Work for ORG
Internships at ORG give a invaluable insight into the day-to-day running of a professional pressure group. Interns' duties are tailored to the individuals' particular skills and interests. Past interns have helped develop web services to facilitate civic engagement, designed promotional and briefing literature, researched public consultation submissions - and plenty more besides. Ideally interns will work with staff in our central London offices but remote participation is possible. We are interested in both part-time and full-time candidates. Please email info[at]openrightsgroup.org or phone 020 7096 1079 for further advice on interning with ORG.
- Next volunteer meeting: Wednesday 16 January
Our next volunteer meeting, where you guys get up close and involved with our daily grind, will be held at 18.30 on Wednesday 16 January. 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 alternative point of view on current issues.
Computer Business Review - 'UK faces threat from internet crime' The UK could be facing a serious threat to national security. Ian Brown, our man in Oxford, points the finger at China for flexing their 'cyber-warfare' muscles.
BBC Radio 4 - 'You and Yours' (Sorry, no link) ORG and the Chief Executive of the BPI debate the proportionality of terminating internet connections on the basis of evidence of illicit filesharing.
BBC World Service - 'Analysis' (Sorry, no link) ORG guides BBC World Service listeners through the challenges facing the recording industry.
Mini-links: Canadian copyright activism special
- Canadian digital rights activists won a major skirmish by delaying and possibly even defeating DMCA-style legislation. The popular campaign was led by Michael Geist, whose regular column this week emphasised the political power of Web 2.0.
- This is the Facebook group - now at 30k+ members and including many links to further groups and materials - that put the wind up Jim Prentice, the minister reponsible for the wounded legislation.
- This simple but effective YouTube video explains problems with the proposed legislation and suggests 30 responses for activists...
- ...The result? Copyright is now cool and sexy, according to this article at least. Yay.
We should like to thank Glyn, Sheila, Chris, Janita, Matthew, Ryan and Ian for helping out with our Christmas party. We also thank Adam for admin hook-ups and Rachel for running the webstats. Ta also to Harry for a range of efforts. Felix gets a pre-emptive thanks for the promised widget. And thanks to Board and Advisors for contributing their considerable grey matter.