Supporter update - April 2009

Welcome to the latest Open Rights Group supporter update. In this edition:

- Statebook: a place to access your citizens information - - Phorm is in deep trouble - - Parliament buckles: copyright extension goes through - - Reclaim your DNA from Britain's National DNA database - - Press - - Thanks -


  • Statebook: a place to access your citizens information
  • This month we launched a campaign site portraying the seemingly unregulated amassing of personal data by the state. Called Statebook, it is a spoof government site, listing all the information government holds an an individual citizen, based on the Database State report. The site also shows what new information the Government want to collect, through new schemes, like the Intercept Modernisation Programme. It also gives you an easy way to email your MP with a customisable letter about the government’s plans. Tell your friends about on Twitter, Facebook, or just by email. And this action page details what you can do to push back against snooping.

  • Phorm is in deep trouble
  • On top of major websites, including Amazona and Wikipedia, deciding to protect their customers and brands by blocking the Webwise system, Phorm is gripped by a new controversy. It seems the the Home Office worked with Phorm to offer advice that would give "comfort" to their investors. In reply, the firm has launched a bizarre smear website against campaigners including ORG, which may be the idea of their new PR agent Patrick Robertson, whose previous clients include Jonathan Aitken and General Pinochet. Phorm are clearly on the ropes and getting desperate so please help the final push by asking your favourite websites to block Phorm.

  • Parliament buckles: copyright extension goes through
  • Despite widespread dissent and controversy MEPs have voted for copyright term extension. The proposal now moves to the Council of Ministers, where it is currently blocked by various member states. Thanks to the many of you have written to your MEPs. We'll update again with further actions in support of sound copyright but remind you for now that the European elections in June will be an opportunity to express discontent.

  • Reclaim your DNA from Britain's National DNA database
  • Have you or your child been arrested and had your DNA and fingerprints taken by the police? If so, you will probably have a computer record on Britain’s National DNA Database. If you are concerned about how the Government might misuse this information, or fail to keep it safe, use the new Reclaim Your DNA website to help get your computer records deleted and your DNA destroyed.

Press relations Every week, we spend time talking to the media and connecting them with experts or giving an alternate point of view on current issues. We were featured on Newsnight, BBC World Service, BBC News Channel and Sky (no longer available online) in the Pirate Bay Debate.

  • Music Week - 'Open Rights slams copyright'
  • A survey carried out by an international network of consumer groups indicates that the UK's copyright laws are the worst, "by far". ORG commented, "It is ridiculous to ban copying, sampling and parody without payment, yet that is how the law stands today. The Government is undermining copyright's reputation by failing to give clear rights to users in a changed digital world, where we all rip, mix and burn."
  • The Inquirer - 'Online campaigners launch Statebook'
  • Sylvie Barak reports on ORG's "more-disturbing-than-funny" Facebook spoof, which highlights digital privacy and government data mining infringing on UK citizens' rights. ORG commented that we're "tapping into a strong and growing public unease about digital privacy" and said that government data retention (or more frequently, careless government data leakage) was a sign that things were "going in the wrong direction".
  • Ars technica: EU Open Internet
  • 'Activists rally troops against proposed EU 'Net regulations' - Decent reportage from John Trimmer on the hard-to-follow Telecoms Package, suggesting that member states are on a 'collision course' with the European Parliament. No direct quote from us but highlights the letter-writing campaign that ORG is coordinating at

  • Guardian - 'Phorm: Does its stroppy campaign site signal the beginning of the end?'
  • Jemima Kiss praises Phorm for trying to engage with public concern about its ad-targeting service, but says the StopPhoulPlay website is incredibly unprofessional and "feels to me like a sign that Phorm is dying, and this is one of its final throes".


Thanks to all the lovely people that make ORG work, but particularly this month Adam and Lemon, our tireless sys-admins.