Supporter Newsletter: September 2014

This month we launched ticket sales for ORGCon and are delighted that Cory Doctorow will be giving our opening talk. We also take a look at the future of ORG in Scotland, revelations of RIPA abuse, and the future of copyright legislation.

Digital Rights in Scotland: Decision Time

As the vote on Scottish Independence fast approaches, we’re worried by what the lack of a strong network of rights organisations means for Scotland.

Day-to-day decisions involve digital rights issues. Do you buy the Smart Meter the energy company are pushing at you? Do you accept the Terms & Conditions for this free app you wanted? Do you share that video, that joke, that tweet?

Every week ORG are asked to comment on issues like these and address the big questions about who is watching us, where our data is going, and what we can freely say. We need to have the same ability to comment on and campaign about these issues in Scotland, and in the specific context of Scottish law.

We believe it is absolutely necessary for digital rights to be part of the discussion on the future of Scotland and an ORG Scotland office could help address these issues.

If you’d like to help us to build ORG Scotland, please encourage your friends to become a member.
www.openrightsgroup.org/join/join-org-scotland

We will also be at the Liberal Democrat Conference in Glasgow on Sunday 5th October.

The Don’t Spy On Us is asking the question, "Surveillance how do we reform RIPA and protect civil liberties?". Confirmed speakers include 
Julian Huppert MP
Eric Metcalfe - Barrister, Monckton Chambers
Paul Johnson - Deputy Editor, The Guardian
Jo Glanville - Director, English PEN
Jim Killock - Director, Open Rights Group

The event is open to everyone,conference delegates and members of the public alike.

100 Eastvale Place, Glasgow SWG3

RIPA misuse exposed

It was revealed last week that the Met police accessed the telephone records of The Sun's Political Editor, Tom Newton Dunn, using a RIPA request.

The case should end any discussion about whether or not metadata reveals anything personal about us: Newton Dunn's calls and when and where they were received, were seen as enough to identify a whistleblower, who contacted him over the Plebgate scandal.

Journalistic privilege, protected by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, was circumvented by the use of RIPA. Newton Dunn was not even aware that his records had been accessed until the Met published their report into the Plebgate affair.

When DRIP was announced, Newton Dunn wrote in The Sun, that the new powers would give MI5 and cops, "crucial access to plotters' mobile phone records". UK public authorities use RIPA over 500,000 a year to access private data. The police refused to answer questions as to how many times they have have accessed journalists' data. When this is happening without our knowledge, we cannot ignore the threat to our civil liberties that data retention poses. 

Join us at ORGCon2014  this Autumn

ORGCon tickets are on sale! The early programme has been published, and we are pretty excited about this year's ORGCon. Join us on 15th-16th November at Kings College London.

There will be a keynote from ORG-founder, author, BoingBoing Editor and campaigner Cory Doctorow!

For the first time we’ll be having a second day where supporters can gather together to hack new tech projects, come up with campaign ideas and run their own sessions.

As the General Election approaches we’ll be talking about how to challenge a culture of surveillance. We’re gathering opinions and experts on the issue from all sides of the experience: home affairs representatives, those who have been victims of state surveillance, whistle-blowers and those who have suffered privacy invasion from stalkers, employers or the job centre.

We’ve sold a huge number of tickets already, and we still have so much more waiting to be announced. Please invite your friends along, ORGCon is a great place to talk about the current big issues of the Internet, make friends and meet with some amazing people.

Tickets for supporters are only £10: orgcon.openrightsgroup.org

Search Engine Law warning

Last week UK Culture Secretary Sajid Javid made some worrying declarations, threatening search engines with legislation unless they stop “sending people to illegal sites”.

In his speech to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) he chose to make copyright enforcement the focus, laying out what the Government may have on the horizon. Sajid Javid informed us that he has written to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo asking them to stop “sending people to illegal sites”, threatening a legislative approach if he doesn’t see “real progress” on piracy.

However, we believe the close links between Governent and industry is concerning. All stakeholders involved, not just industry, including consumers and amateur creators must be considered in copyright enforcement.

Read Policy Director Javier Ruiz's thorough piece explaining why copyright is an fuzzy area, and examining Saijid Javid's speech in full.

Quick Fire news

We need your help to improve transparency around website blocking by court order. We've launched a fundraiser to support our project, 451 Unavailable, which will help ISPs make it clear why websites are blocked. We need all the court orders, but each one costs £10. Please consider donating to help us bring transparency to blocking.

ORG out and about

9 September - 10th September
Richard King, Project Manager, was in Istanbul delivering a workshop on censorship and surveillance.

Labour Conference, Sunday September 21st,  6.30pm.

Open Debate 'Surveillance, where do you draw the line?' with Labour MPs, MEPs and representatives of Don't Spy on Us.
Anthony Burgess Museum
M1 5BY

Digital Rights Hack Day, Saturday October 4th
10.00am - 9.00pm
Join us for a free hack day, we've got lots of ideas, projects to share, pizza and only a few places left.
Mozilla Office
101 St. Martin's London
WC2N 4AZ


Liberal Democrat Conference, Sunday, October 5th, 6.15pm
Open Debate 'Surveillance, where do you draw the line?' with Lib Dem MPs, MEPs and representatives of Don't Spy on Us.
100 Eastvale Place, Glasgow
SWG3