Supporters Update - November 2007


  • ORG Day

We published a review of our first two years' operations on 19 November, partly to celebrate our campaign and media successes but also, crucially, to drum up more financial support. In short, we must significantly increase our income from supporters if ORG over the next two years to expand our various works. However, helped along by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust's kind offer to fund-match donations up to a total value of £10,000 (2), ORG Day got a great reaction. Many bloggers were very kind to us and our request that supporters maintain (or increase!) their regular donations was well received. Also, the reaction to our plea that pledgers follow through on their promise (4) was very strong. Thanks for all your nice mails and if you have questions about supporting ORG, just reply to this mail.

  • "Revenue-gate"

Thanks to staggering negligence at HMRC, data protection and privacy concerns were thrust centre-stage this month. Full credit goes to the many activists who informed media coverage including our very own Ian Brown; Phil Booth and Michael Parker at No2ID; Richard Clayton and Ross Anderson at FIPR; Terri Dowty at FIPR and Simon Davies and Gus Hosein at Privacy International. Our efforts were largely behind the scenes, connecting the media with experts and we'll continue to direct the media traffic as the numerous public reviews of centralised databases get under way. See press and mini links below for more coverage.

  • Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas party is Saturday 15 December from 7.30pm - 2am. We are again sharing with the BBC Backstage guys - thanks, Ian. Location is Ye Olde Cock Tavern, 22 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1AA (5). There will be - amongst other treats - music, cake, party bags and werewolf. We're delighted to announce the return (for one night only!) of Copyfighters, featuring a very special surprise guest. There are 100 tickets reserved for ORGites and due to expected demand you will need to register. The allocation system only requires your name, email address and "org" as the promo code. Please use the 'Open Rights Group' ticket option. Oh, and don't forget your festive cheer.

  • Submission to the Byron Review

Thanks to everyone who collaborated on our submission to the Byron Review on children and new technology. Amongst our various recommendations we noted that centralised censorship of the Web is unreliable and parents are better-placed to manage their child's information diet by gradually introducing them to content online. The submission is available for download.

  • Creative Business in the Digital Era - Research Update

Our current research project, concerning creative businesses that distribute works for free (both as in beer and speech) is on track, thanks to Suw's masterful management. Case studies are in the works from Magnatune, Friday Publishing and Where are the Joneses. We're still asking for contributions from all you disruptive thinkers on the wiki and we also have various related tasks - including interview transcription! - for any volunteers with an hour or two spare.

  • Volunteer's meeting

The next volunteer meeting will be 16 January 2008 at 18.30. Location is central London but IRC will be running.

Press relations

Every week, we talk to the media and connecting them with experts or give them an alternate point of view on current issues.

Computerworld UK - 'Fundamental Failings in e-Voting, says Open Rights Group' The Ministry of Justice have rejected the Electoral Commission's call to halt e-Voting trials, reports Tash Shifrin. The Government also denied the fundamental criticisms made in our Elections Report and pledged to continue live trials of electoral modernisation solutions more suited to TV talent shows than a modern democracy.

Groklaw - 'Interview with Becky Hogge' Sean Daly questions ORG on Auntie's use of Microsoft DRM in the iPlayer, despite apparent conflict with the BBC's public service remit. On the positive side, we expect current platform neutrality issues to prove temporary. Yet there are more serious, long-term problems in terms of knowledge flows arising from the BBC's continued reliance on rights models and digital restrictions that destroy rather than create value.

PC Pro - 'France moves to cut off file sharers' According to Simon Aughton, French plans to terminate internet connections in the event of prolonged infringement were greeted with delight by the international recorded music industry and enthusiasm by the British government. However, digital rights activists on both sides of the channel doubt the reliability of reporting techniques and appeals procedures, which ultimately means yet more bad news for music consumers.

Daily Mail - 'Lost disc fiasco could scupper ID card scheme' James Slack reports on the data protection minister's pledge to review official storage and use of data in the wake of the child benefit fiasco. The review will likely extend to the ID cards plan, slated for introduction in 2009. Academics, including ORG advisors Ian Brown and Richard Clayton, reacted with dismay at the government's "fairytale view" of the technologies required to implement the proposed the ID card scheme.

BBC Backstage - 'Interview with Mark Taylor (Open Source Consortium) and Becky Hogge (Open Rights Group)' Yet more debate of BBC's iPlayer, this time featuring BBC staffers in discussion with activists.

Mini-links: HMRC-gate special


Special thanks to Tim for formatting the 'annual report', to everyone who came to the volunteer meeting, to Harry for helping out in the office, to Chris for sorting our soon-to-be-unveiled leaflet, to Adam and Glyn for maintaining in the face of incompetence. Thanks to Simon, AJ, Ben and Adam (again) for chipping into the Byron Review. Thanks also to Sam and Richard for taking on the onerous transcription duties. Thanks to anyone i have not mentioned. And, as ever, thanks to the Board and Advisory Council for keeping us in the know.

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