Supporter Newsletter - November 2019

An action packed October at Open Rights Group (ORG) included a big win on age verification, our first ever ORGCon Scotland and new developments in our legal challenge to the Data Protection Act.

Gov drops Age Verification

After years of dithering, the Government cancelled plans to require age verification on adult websites, averting a systemic privacy risk for millions of UK residents. There’s no question children must be protected from harmful content, but the plan’s privacy protections were merely optional for companies and would have prompted the creation of vulnerable records of the public’s porn preferences. That could lead to people being outed, blackmailed or having their careers destroyed. With your support, Open Rights Group was able raise the alarm and convince the Government they were making a huge mistake. 

Support the appeal of ORG’s Data Protection Act legal challenge 

This year Open Rights Group and the3million argued before the UK High Court that the “immigration exemption” used to deny people access to their personal data is far too broad and imprecise. In October the judge ruled against our challenge, but in a win for transparency the Home Office said it will now inform residents when it uses the exemption. That means the millions of EU nationals living in the UK legally who have to reapply for a new immigration status after Brexit will be more able to contest what could be life-changing errors. We need your help to continue the fight. Please support our effort to appeal the decision.

Regulating the use of personal data in political campaigning

After the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued a draft framework code of practice for the use of personal data in political campaigning, ORG hosted a round table with participants from academia, government, and civil society. The meeting produced a bold call for greater coordination between the ICO and the Electoral Commission because online political campaigning requires both data protection regulation and campaign finance regulation. Currently it is difficult for the ICO and the Electoral Commission to interact as effectively as they could. Expect to hear a lot more from ORG on this subject as we approach the general election on 12 December.

ORGCon Scotland debuts in Edinburgh

Open Rights Group teamed up with the Scottish Informatics & Computer Science Alliance to host the first ever ORGCon Scotland in Edinburgh. Big thanks to all the speakers and attendees who made it a success! We explored the unique digital rights environment in Scotland including topics like police cyber kiosks and Government plans for digital identification. Check out the keynote address by co-leader of the Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie MSP


ORG Norwich 20 November
Join us for a presentation by Pascal Crowe, ORG's Data and Democracy Project Officer, to learn how UK political parties use your personal data and what you can do about it.

ORG Glasgow 2 December
Join us for a free screening of Netflix’s the Great Hack followed by a panel discussion. The film uncovers the dark world of data exploitation through the journeys of players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal. Register your free ticket here.

ORG Cambridge, London, Bristol & more:
We’ll be announcing several more November events soon - watch this space!

Last but not least, we’d like to thank VPN Compare for renewing their support of Open Rights Group.

Thanks for being part of the movement to protect UK digital rights.