Supporter Newsletter: April 2014

We announce our Indiegogo success for a new campaign video on filtering and let you know about Quiz Your MEP events across the country. We're also celebrating the ECJ decision on the Data Retention Directive and looking for your help on the next steps.

Will your MEPs protect digital rights?

The European elections are on 22nd May and we want to know which candidates will stand up for your digital rights.

From ACTA to the Data Protection Regulation, most big digital issues are affected by European rules. How will candidates protect us from mass surveillance? Will they support your right to Internet access? Will they oppose censorship?

To answer these questions, you can attend one of our MEP 'Any Questions?' events being hosted across the country. This is your chance to ask your candidates where they stand on these issues.

We're also speaking to candidates from all the political parties and asking them to sign on to support the WePromise 10 point charter. So far 24 UK candidates have agreed to these principles!

We're having a real effect on making digital issues part of the European election agenda.

See the events list for details of events in your region.

Stop UK Censorship: Amazing response

We asked our supporters to back our plan to bring filtering back onto the political agenda. We were overwhelmed by the support we received to our fundraiser. Together we've raised £12,000 in just 2 weeks to allow us to make a funny, high-quality campaign video!

Every major Internet Service Provider is promoting filters, which censor the Internet, block sites by mistake and give parents a false sense of security. It happened without any parliamentary debate or scrutiny, let alone something as democratic as a Bill.

But thanks to you we're going to launch a campaign to make the public aware of this important issue. We are so grateful to everyone for contributing!

We’ve reached the target but still have one special offer. For £500 you can get your name in the film. Any other donations will help us promote the film to make sure it has as much impact as possible.

Data retention overturned

This month, we celebrated the ruling by the European Court of Justice that the 2006 Data Retention Directive is invalid. This decision will have huge effects for those of us fighting against mass surveillance.

Under the Directive, telecoms companies were obliged to hold location and traffic data, for up to 2 years. In the case brought by Digital Rights Ireland, the ECJ found that the Directive did not define enough restrictions to limit this intrusion into our privacy.

Significantly, the ECJ recognised that location data does, ''provide very precise information” on our private lives. The Court's recognition that metadata is very revealing will help us campaign in the UK and in Europe against mass surveillance.

Now that the Directive no longer exists, we are asking ISPs what they are doing. ORG has written to BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin to ask them to explain how they will be treating user data.

Help us challenge the Government

We are are looking to contest Data Retention regulations in the UK, if the Government claims they are still in force. Will you help us mount a challenge on Government surveillance?

We need a volunteer who would be eligible for legal aid and fits these criteria to help us:

  • An individual internet/mobile user, who is concerned about retention of their data by telecoms companiess and wishes to challenge the UK Regulations, on the back of the recent Digital Rights Ireland case.

  • If you have been particularly affected (e.g. by receiving 'illegal downloading' letters or similar) then that is even better, but not necessary.

  • To be eligible for legal aid then you must be on 'passported benefits'  (income support, income-based JSA, income-based employment/support allowance or universal credit) or on a low income, and must also have relatively low capital.

If this sounds like you, please get in touch and email

ORG Scotland planning day

Many supporters are concerned by the direction the Scottish Parliament is taking with civil liberties. There are a number of digital issues, from Entitlement cards to website blocking, that are the responsibility of MSPs. However, no rights organisation is currently working on these issues.That's why we've launched a campaign to fund opening an ORG Scotland office.

Whether we hire an activism organiser, a policy expert or a part-time Director, we hope to begin working on Scottish campaigns very soon.

We're holding an event in Edinburgh on Saturday 10th May to discuss the future of ORG Scotland and how to deal with devolved digital rights campaigns. Please come along to help support us and help make this project possible.

Quick fire ORG news

Quiz your MEP: European Digital Rights Hustings Dates

ORG-Manchester Hustings,
Tuesday 6th May, 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Friends Meeting House
Mount Street
Behind Central Library
Manchester M2 5NS  

ORG-Sheffield Hustings, Thursday 8th May 6.30pm- 8.30pm
St Mary's Church & Conference Centre,
Bramall Lane, Sheffield, S2 4QZ, Sheffield

ORG-Bristol Hustings,Friday 9th May, 6.30pm -  8.30pm
St Werburgh's Community Centre
Horley Road, Bristol, BS2 9TJ, Bristol

ORG-Norwich Hustings, Monday 12th May, 6.30pm-8.30pm
Norwich Quaker Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane, NR2 1Ew, Norwich

ORG-London Hustings, Thursday 15th May, 6.30pm - 9.30pm
Shoreditch Village Hall,
33 Hoxton Square N1 6NN, London

ORG-Brighton Hustings, Friday 16th May 2, 6.30pm - 8.30pm
BMEP Centre
10A Fleet Street. Brighton, BN1 4ZE, Brighton

ORG out and about

ORG Scotland discussion day with Charlie Stross, Jim Killock and others, Saturday 10 May, 12.30pm, 6.00pm
A discussion on dealing with devolved digital rights campaigns & how to reach out to communities across Scotland.
Informatics Forum

10 Crichton Street

ORG-Cardiff, Cryptoparty - Protect Your Online Privacy in the Age of Mass Surveillance, Saturday, 10 May, 2014 2.00pm - 5.00pm
Founders Hub,
119 St Mary Street, Cardiff