Supporters Update - August 2007


  • Electoral Commission echo ORG call for public debate on electronic elections

The Electoral Commission published their report into 2007 e-Voting pilots this month. It recommends that e-voting pilots come to a halt until a consultation into reforming policy on electronic elections has taken place: one of the key conclusions of ORG's June 2007 elections report. We'll be discussing these reports with commission representatives, elected officials and political party members in our tour of the political party conference this September.

  • Consult

Do you really and truly want to contribute to consultations but find it's a faff to make yourself heard? We've got a new way for the community to share their views: Consult. The tool makes it really easy to comment on specific parts of any document, and read what others think about them too. Please test it out and let us know how you like it. There are three ongoing consultations to get us started: the Government's 'Consultation on Consultations' (4) and then two from the Information Commissioner's Office, 'Data Protection Strategy' (5) and 'Sharing Personal Information'.

  • Public Domain Works alpha launch

Works in the public domain are simpler and cheaper to reuse than protected works, because you don't need to ask rights holders (or their lawyers!) for permission. The PD Works database (7) is a new addition to the digital artist's toolkit to help us build on the past by identifying sound recordings that are now public domain. An alpha version is running and we ask you guys to test the interface but also verify and contribute to the underlying data.

  • Brighton, Bournemouth and Blackpool: meet the ORG crew and invite your MP to our fringe event

As part of our tour of the autumn party conferences we want to meet local supporters and sympathisers. We're meeting in Brighton on Sunday 16 September at 16.00 at The Black Lion (8). We don't yet have venues for the the other towns but hope someone will suggest a suitable boozer. The plan is to meet in Bournemouth the evening of Tuesday 25 September and in Blackpool the evening of Monday 1 October. Drop us a line if you're local and want to get together. Also, if you've not yet done so, please please please invite your MP along to our fringe events - it's exactly one hundred times more effective than us asking. The event details are online (9), as are guidelines for your letters.

  • DRM

Defective by Design's hazmat squad were again out in strength this month, demonstrating against iPlayer's use of DRM at BBC HQ in White City, London. And the petition to Number Ten against the Microsoft only on-demand service closed this month, with over 16,000 signatures!

Press relations

Every week, we spend time talking to the media and connecting them with experts or giving them an alternate point of view on current issues.

BBC News 'The Ghosts in the Voting Machine' Bill Thompson, in light of the technical evaluations of the May 2007 electoral pilots produced by ourselves and the Electoral Commission, argues for withholding trust until a technology has proven its merits.

Washington Post - 'UK report questions role of ISPs in online safety' Jeremy Kirk reports on the Lords' review of Personal Internet Security, which argues that ISPs should become responsible for online security because users fail to take effective precautions. We do not believe ISPs are best-placed to police the networks, and that increased responsibility for users actions would lead to illiberal enforcement tactics.

BBC News 'Halt e-voting says election body' The Electoral Commission ask for web and phone voting pilots to be stopped until security and testing have been improved. Despite fresh ministerial promises, we warn that successive Governments have failed to learn the lessons of trials and that future pilots should be scrapped.


The Dan Rather Reports episode 'The Trouble with Touchscreens' provides an insight into ES&S (a key e-voting vendor both here and in the US) and their US/Far East outsourcing practices

Sign up to dissent against European Commission back-pedalling on free and open standards

'Public health: Private data' is a joint event hosted by BCS Health Informatics Forum and BCS Security Forum entitled.

Channel 4 comedy I.T. Crowd shows its support for the Open Rights Group.


Thanks to Rufus and the OKFNers for leading the way with Public Domain Works, to Sheila and Glyn for getting Consult up and running, to Austin for donating more and more hardware, to Adam for continuing to work on our office network. Thanks again to Glyn for representing ORG at the Edinburgh TV Un-Conference and Podcon. Thanks to Kevin for working on the anti-DRM pamphlet. And as always, thanks to all ORG's Directors and Advisers. Extra thanks to anyone we neglected to mention.

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