Supporter Newsletter: January 2014

In this edition of the newsletter we announce big success in our legal fundraising, and our Privacy Not Prism case. Plus how you can defend your medical privacy and join the Day We Fight Back campaign.

You did it!

We're delighted to announce that  we have successfully raised enough to hire a full-time Legal Director!

We'll be recruiting for this position in the next month and are very excited about what this will mean for ORG. As Cory Doctorow wrote, “impact litigation can win victories that simply can't be won in any other way.”

Our supporter numbers have grown 40% in a year, with 200 in the last month! This show of support for digital rights will allow us to be more ambitious for the future, and start our full-fledged legal track.

You can still help out – there are always extra costs, including rent and fees for legal publications, that an extra contribution can cover costs for.

Your funding means we can campaign on privacy, surveillance, filtering and free speech. Thank you for promoting ORGLawFund and making it a success!

We're taking the Government to Court

We have really exciting news in our Privacy Not Prism case!

The European Court has completed its preliminary examination of our case and has now asked the UK Government to justify how GCHQ's practices comply with Article 8 of the European Convention: the right to privacy.

The court has also given the case a rare 'priority' designation. The Government has until 2 May to respond, after which the case will move into the final stages before judgment.

In September we submitted a legal action, with English PEN and Big Brother Watch, on behalf of all Internet users in the UK and EU against excessive state surveillance.

Daniel Carey, our solicitor in the case, says:
"This gives real hope to the public that the European Court of Human Rights will require reform if the Government continues to insist that nothing is wrong."

The Day We Fight Back

February 11th 2014.

You'll be seeing some big news from ORG released on the 11th! We'll be announcing Don't Spy On Us - the UK arm of a global campaign to fight back for our right to privacy.

Join us at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon for our launch event!

They'll be short talks, opportunities to take action, learn about encryption, secure your communications and ask questions to the experts on GCHQ practices.

Please tell us you're coming here:

Digital rights organisations from around the world are working together for a co-ordinated day of action. Together we're building a united voice against mass surveillance, and the biggest Internet protest in history. You can find out about how to take part in the online here:

Blocked Project Needs You

We held an event at the Mozilla hackspace on Saturday 18 January to develop our Censorship Monitoring Project. We had a fantastic day with 30 volunteers coming together to shape this new tool.

Default filtering is being out-sourced to third party companies and as a result we don’t know what, how or why sites are being blocked. We need to know, and you can help.

Our project intends to make it easy for anyone to check whether and where their site is blocked, scrutinising the new default filtering.

Whether it is coding, user experience testing, app design or spreading the word, please join up to our tech volunteers mailing list if you'd like to get involved.

Keep your medical records private

Radical changes to the way the NHS stores your medical records are about to take place.

Where your details are stored, who can see them and who will manage them are all due to be changed in the next months. Your records will be held centrally and then may made available to a variety of people and institutions: universities, think tanks and businesses. Sometimes this will 'anonymised', sometimes 'pseudonymised' and sometimes identifiable.

You need to actively opt-out, if you do not wish to have your data automatically transferred.

Read our blog on what is happening to your records and how to opt out.

You can learn more about the changes to medical privacy at ORG events around the country in Manchester, Sheffield, London and Brighton. Phil Booth from the MedConfidential campaign will be leading these talks and answering your questions.

Get involved with ORG's work

There are lots of ways you can get involved with ORG. Join or start a local group, write for the zine or help promote us.

Thank you for all your help. We can't do the necessary work we do without support from digital rights activists like yourselves.

Quick fire ORG news

-Javier Ruiz participated in a panel at the Computers, Privacy & Data Protection conference in Brussels titled "(Distributive) Justice vs Privacy - The Uneasy Tradeoff in Copyright Debates"

-ORG had a meeting with The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) who are now involved in mobile filtering. They run an appeals process and provide advice to filtering companies. We let you know how to complain about the overblocking on our blog.

ORG out and about

ORG Manchester; CryptoParty 2!
Thurs 6 February, 7pm
Part of the Manchester Free Software Festival, ORG-Manchester will be training you in staying secure and anonymous online.
36-40 Edge Street, Manchester

ORG-Brighton; CryptoParty - The Day We Fight Back!
Tuesday 11 February, 6.30 PM
With international actions, and a new UK coalition to stop mass surveillance launching on February 11th, we thought it would be an excellent idea to run a Crypto Party to show how to improve your personal security and privacy.68 Middle Street, Brighton

ORG-Sheffield; Changes to medical confidentiality
Wednesday 12 February, 6.30pm
We'll be discussing how to opt-out and stop your data from being uploaded to the new centralised record database. Shakespeare pub,
146-148 Gibralter Steet,

ORG-London meetup; Blinkbox, LoveFilm and Netflix: How DRM gets them all
Monday 17 February, 7pm
Internet TV expert Paul Thompson will be talking about his experiences working at major brands like Netflix and LoveFilm, nd why do the studios push for use of DRM?
The Angel
60 Farringdon Road

ORG-Manchester; Threats to your medical confidentiality: NHS
Tues 25 February, 7pm
Phil Booth from MedConfidential will be on hand to answer all your questions. Organised with FSFE Manchester and No2ID Manchester
Friends Meeting House
Mount Street
Behind Central Library
Manchester M2 5NS

ORG-Brighton: TA3M on MedConfidential
Monday 17 February, 6.30pm
Phil Booth from MedConfidential will be speaking changes to your medical records.
Venue TBC

We also do a weekly update on all things in technology policy and political developments for digital rights. Subscribe to get the weekly news in our Parliamentary & Policy Update.