Supporter Newsletter: March 2014

In this edition of the newsletter we celebrate Don't Spy on Us success as Lib Dems and Labour respond to pressure. Plus updates on the Censorship Monitoring Project and the European copyright consultation.

Big steps towards ending mass surveillance 

Thank you for supporting the Don't Spy on Us campaign. The effects of the petition and campaigning are beginning to show!

The Liberal Democrats have just passed a resolution to have a digital bill of rights. Nick Clegg has also commissioned a review of all the Edward Snowden files, and of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. The Liberal Democrat party conference also endorsed the 13 Necessary and Proportionate principles.

Labour are now asking questions about safeguards on privacy. The Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper spoke at Demos stating the need for debate. She asked:
What safeguards do we want against inappropriate surveillance or invasions into our privacy and liberty by the British police and agencies?”

Both parties are putting privacy on the agenda for the elections. This wouldn't have been possible without your influence.

These are encouraging signs that ending mass surveillance is achievable!

Please sign the petition at:

Help Fight Default Censorship

The Censorship Monitoring Project is our volunteer-led project, building a tool to monitor over-blocking on the default filtering system across the UK. 

We've been generously offered £3000 in matched funding to keep this project going, meaning every £1 you give becomes £2 this month, whether that's a one off gift or your first year's subscription!

We have raised £1200 in 2 days! This is amazing, and we're so excited by all the support for this work.
But we're only half way there. Please read more about the project and donate or join here.

The world we want

This year ORG have been talking to all our supporters, local groups, partners, allies, staff board and Advisory Council about our work and our future.

As a result of this strategy work we've been thinking hard about how we want to grow over the next three years. One of the first changes is our new definition of the world we want to see: It's our call to arms and our mission statement.

“As society goes digital we wish to preserve its openness. We want a society built on laws, free from disproportionate, unaccountable surveillance and censorship.” [read the rest here]

We'll be sending a poll out shortly to ask for your thoughts on our new ideas.

How should copyright work for you?

The European Commission ran a public consultation on the future of copyright this month. This was a great opportunity to reform legal and technical restrictions and call for real consumer rights. We believe that if you've paid for the content, you should be able to control it in the same way you do physical media.

However, there were some worrying suggestions in the consultation, including whether copyright holders' should control who links to their content. Under this proposal links on Twitter could then be in breach of copyright law. These kind of plans go against the very foundation of the World Wide Web.

That's why we're delighted that over 400 of the 11,000 responses to the consultation from across Europe came from ORG supporters. We're playing a key role in convincing the EU that people do care about Europe-wide copyright reform. The European Commission are planning on releasing a white paper in June in response.

Local Groups: national success

It's been an excellent month for ORG's local groups around the country. They are doing a great job of organising events and getting local attention onto issues like medical privacy and filtering.

On the back of our local activism training day in February, two new groups have started up in Norwich and Bristol. Norwich will be having their launch event on mid-april April with Internet and human rights experts, Paul Bernal and Wendy Grossman giving a 'state of the web' round-up.

Richard King, our Censorship Monitoring Project Manager will be touring many of our local groups this month. He'll be explaining the problems of filtering and what the project will be achieving.

If you are interested in getting involved with any of these groups please email us, and have a look at the ORG Out and About section for details of a meeting near you.

Quick fire ORG news

-We welcomed this week’s vote in the European Parliament to approve a Regulation on data protection. The Regulation will strengthen European citizens’ rights over their data.

-Javier Ruiz was in San Francisco last week for RightsCon, where he presented our PrivacynotPrism successful crowdfunding project. He also had meetings with other groups campaigning against mass surveillance, and discussed open data and privacy at the Responsible Data Forum.

-We recently asked our Scottish members if they'd like to see an ORG Scotland set up. If you live in Scotland and haven't answered yet, have your say here.

-ORG held a packed event at the Free Word Centre on the Day We Fight Back. On Tuesday 11th February 150 people took part in  the launch of Don't Spy on Us coalition campaign. They heard talks about the Snowden leaks, learnt encryption and secure data storage and signed onto the petition.

-Executive Director Jim Killock appeared on Sky News on Wednesday 12th March debating Tim Berners-Lee's call for a digital Magna Carta.

ORG out and about

ORG-Edinburgh; Internet Filtering, ORG's Censorship Monitoring Project Wednesday, 19 March. 6.30-8.00pm
Hear from Richard King who is managing ORG's Censorship Monitoring Project. What are the risks posed by filtering? And how can over-blocking be challenged?
Informatics Forum
10 Crichton Street

ORG-Manchester;  ORG's Censorship Monitoring Project Tuesday, 18 March. 7.00pm - 9.00pm
Hear from Richard King who is managing ORG's Censorship Monitoring Project. What are the risks posed by filtering? And how can over-blocking be challenged?  Town Hall Tavern
20 Tibb Lane, M2 4JA , Manchester  

ORG-London meetup; Threats to your medical confidentiality, Monday 17th March
7.00pm - 9.00pm
Phil Booth from Medical Confidentiality will be explaining the proposed changes to your medical privacy.
The Open Data Institute, 3rd Flood, 65 Clifton St, London 

Join ORG today!

Join today and help us do even more to fight to protect fundamental rights like privacy and free speech.

YOU are what makes our work possible. Without support from donations we wouldn't be able to do any of the above work.

Please join here now.

Thank you!