Supporter update - June 2008


  • London Elections Report

The ORG report into the May 2008 London e-count will be published this week. Keep an eye on our blog to read the report in full.

  • ORG's European Vacation

News that the European Commission may soon formally propose an extension to copyright term on sound recordings sent Becky and Gavin off to Brussels to speak with key policy makers. Packed in their suitcases: passports; smart suits; a petition signed by over 11,000 Europeans asking the Commission to consider the views of citizens and consumers, and not just powerful rightsholders; and a letter of objection drafted by the continent's most respected intellectual property thinkers. The fight for Sound Copyright continues!

  • Open Tech 2008

Open Tech "is an informal, low cost one-day conference on technology, society and low-carbon living, featuring Open Source ways of working and technologies that anyone can have a go at." The ORG was conceived at Open Tech 2005. This year we're leading two of the morning sessions, a keysigning party and will be meeting with supporters in the bar once the formal sessions have finished, at around 19.30. See the programme for more details on all the sessions. And please, if you're coming down, make sure to join us for a drink and give ORG volunteers and staff a heads up on the digital rights issues you're concerned with.

  • The Future of the Internet in Focus

Will consumer pressure for a safer net mean the end of open platforms and rapid innovation? And should the geeks who "get" the net care if the rest of the world prefer TiVos and iPhones? This month we co-hosted an event at the British Computer Society to discuss the problems raised by Jonathan Zittrain's new book, The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It. Professor Zittrain was joined by technology journalist Bill Thompson and Becky Hogge to discuss the threat that insecurity and "tethered appliances" pose to the generative internet. We were also fortunate enough to have an expert and lively audience. The recording (click to listen) shows the broad range of views within our community.

  • Volunteers meeting

June's volunteer meeting was a boisterous but productive session, with the usual mix of issues discussion and apportioning of duties, followed by a friendly ale. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday 24 July, please indicate on the wiki if you want to join in.

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. Please see our June 2008 press archive for more details

A service enabling users to locate friends to within a radius of a few hundred metres and costing 50p a time will soon be available on Facebook, reports Andrea-Marie Vassou. Our concern here is that the privacy risks associated with publicising location data are not recognised by the general public, especially in the context of social networks where the concept of friend is meaningless.

Virgin are sending warning letters to broadband customers suspected of illegally sharing music files. Although there is no threat to disconnect, users are told they "need to stop or face action". According to Simon Aughton, the BPI and the Government welcome the approach. Our concern that file sharers will switch to using encrypted protocols to evade detection is quoted.

David Hepworth notes the varying responses from ISPs to the record industry's demands to tackle copyright infringement online and compensate them for the unauthorised use of their products. He's not convinced a music tax should be levied because every other sector of the entertainment industry, starting with sporting and movie right holders, will be next in line.


The very best way to stay updated on ORG-esque events is with our Upcoming group. Here's some some particularly exciting events happening in the next month or so:

  • LUG Radio Live UK 2008 includes sessions on free software, Open Source, digital rights, technology and more, a compelling list of speakers, exhibitors and birds of a feather sessions. Described as combining the atmosphere of a rock concert and a computer conference!

  • UKGovWeb Teacamp is a gathering for people working in and around UK government with a particular interest in government online. It happens twice a month, on the first and third Thursdays.

Mini Links: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)


Thanks to Mike, Lemon and Adam for keeping the site running. Thanks to Chris, Fred, James and Dean for helping with our supporter drive tools. Thanks to Patrick, Rowan, Mark, Anne Onn, Sheila, Glyn, Adam, Chris, Rachel, Richard and Elliot for participating in the June volunteer meet and getting busy on their alloted tasks. Thanks to Raph for getting involved with the wiki. Thanks to Felix for recording our event at the BCS. Thanks to the Observers who helped Becky to draft our 2008 Elections Report. Gracious thanks to the Board and Advisory Council. And last of all, thanks to Becky, Gavin and Dan for doing 'most everything else.