Supporter Newsletter: December 2013

In this November/December edition of the newsletter we celebrate a key announcement on parody, the Necessary and Proportionate and a big milestone for ORG's supporters.

This is our last newsletter of 2013! We'd like to thank you for campaigning with us throughout the year and for all you've helped us achieve. Together we stopped the Snoopers' Charter, took PRISM to court, challenged online censorship, exposed private data sales and more. We look forward to more campaigning with you in 2014 and wish you happiness in the holiday season!

Support privacy principles 

Across the globe 300 civil liberties groups have united in response to the revelations of mass surveillance on citizens by security services and intelligence agencies.

This month the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance were announced.

The 13 'Necessary and Proportionate Principles' explain how international human rights law applies to governments engaged in communications surveillance. They should be the framework for change around the globe.

The principles were drafted by civil society groups, surveillance experts and NGOs from around the world, including ORG.

Can you join people from around the world and add your name?

Parody exception promised

Despite several Government consultations since the Hargeaves Review in 2011, we are still waiting for the promised copyright reforms to be put into law.

This month responding to the delays we wrote to the Minister, Lord Younger, urging him to get on with the long-promised changes.

The reforms we are seeking are relatively modest. These include 'exceptions' for people with disabilities, parody and format shifting.

Lord Younger told us in reply that the Government intends to lay the regulations before Parliament next year, for commencement in April, including the proposed exception for caricature, parody or pastiche.

We haven’t won yet, but this commitment to keep parody in the mix is a positive step forwards.

Milestone for ORG: 2000 supporters 

We are really proud of what we've achieved in 2013. Take a look at our milestone blog to read the full list of victories in 2013.

We've become louder and more effective at defending your rights. We've seen an enormous amount of interest in our campaigns, with unprecedented numbers responding to Government consultations through us, and thousands signing our petition against mass filtering of the Internet.

The greatest growth has been in our brilliant community of supporters who have helped make real impact on technology laws: We are very close to 2000!

 Help us keep this work going and take on greater capacity to fight on your behalf. If you haven't already, please join here now.

Backroom deals on 'extremist blocks'

The Government want ISPs to block access to 'extremist' content, according to the report of the "Extremism Taskforce", set up after the killing of Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

Website blocking has become the go-to button for politicians to press when they need to be seen reacting strongly to media outcry.

However, as far as we understand, no freedom of expression groups have been involved in planning the changes.

The Government's policy on extreme content can't just be that ISPs should block sites that have been classified as extreme by some secretive government body. The term 'extremism' can be used broadly enough to include any political activists. Whether by accident or abuse content that has little to do with terrorism and national security will be censored.

Help our report on  business impacts of Snowden revelations

We want to hear how UK organisations think the recent surveillance revelations have impacted their business or work.

Are you dealing with data protection, confidentiality, trade secrets, intellectual property or encryption worries? Are you concerned about and less likely to use cloud services? Or are you simply unable to see a reasonable way to manage these risks?

ORG are preparing a report into how mass surveillance effects UK businesses and we'd love your help in providing evidence. If this doesn't apply to you, do you know anyone who would be able to speak to us? Find out more on our campaign page.

Encryption events: National Success

ORG took part in a number of CryptoParties across the country in November. Our local groups did an amazing job of organising  events and teaching people the encryption and the current surveillance situation.

Brighton CryptoFestival – Jointly organised with Lighthouse, a kid-friendly day with talks, workshops and Lego

London CryptoFestival – Organised by Dan McQuillan this big event had some fantastic speakers including Ian Brown and Wendy Grossman from ORG's Advisory Council.

ORG-Manchester CryptoParty – The Manchester group had a great time using giant postcards, games and cake to teach people about preserving privacy.

ORG-Sheffield Practical Secure Email session – The Sheffield group focused specifically on secure email communications.

ORG-Bath cryptoparty - ORG supporter has training retired members of the Bath University of the Third Age on passwords, Truecrypt and back-ups.

If you are interested in getting involved with any of these groups or events, please email Open Rights Group.

Quick fire news

-Jim Killock, Executive Director spoke on BBC News and Sky News live on Monday, reacting to the story that the world's biggest tech companies united to demand surveillance reform.

-Last week saw the Advocate General declare the Data Retention Directive incompatible with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. ORG provided some important background on what this means for our privacy rights.

-Nominet announced this month that they are going to press ahead with the new .uk domain name registries. We responded to their consultation that this decision to create a new domain name is an extra cost on uk businesses and are disappointed with this decision. 

-Our parliamentary and policy update every Friday is a great way to stay up to date on all digital policy news, subscribe here.

ORG out and about

ORG Christmas Party, 16th December, 7pm onwards
Join us for nibbles and drinks at the Green Man!
383 Euston Road, London

Labour Campaign for Human Rights, Tue 17th December, 6.30-8.30pm
Jim Killock is speaking on a panel at debating: "GCHQ and the fight against terrorism: does UK surveillance go too far?"
Committee Room 6, Parliament

Computers, Privacy and Data Protection, 22-24 January
Peter Bradwell, Policy Director, and Caspar Bowden will be presenting at this conference on reforming data prtection.
Brussels, Belgium