ORG Press Coverage/2007

< ORG Press Coverage

Return to: ORG Press Coverage


2007-11-27 - The Register - 'Use me as a mouthpiece' - Guardian hack pleads
Author: Andrew Orlowski
Summary: Ben Goldacre, The Guardian's Mr "Bad Science" writes witheringly about sloppy science journalists. But last week found Ben in a frantic rush, commissioned to write a feature about biometric technology. So he put in an email request to the Open Rights Group, including this interesting offer: "i am offering ORG the chance to use me as a mouthpiece for your righteous rightness." The material from the ORG presumably arrived on time - Goldacre's piece ran on Saturday. The Register asks if this is how journalism should really work.
2007-11-23 - PC Pro - France moves to cut off file sharers
Author: Simon Aughton
Summary: The music industry has roundly welcomed the decision by French president Nicolas Sarkozy to disconnect internet users who share copyright files over P2P networks. The music industry has roundly welcomed the decision by French president Nicolas Sarkozy to disconnect internet users who share copyright files over P2P networks.Becky Hogge, executive director of The Open Rights Group, says there are several potential problems with the French proposals. "I would be interested to see the details of the termination procedures, particularly provisions for customers to appeal against termination if they feel they have been inaccurately identified as illicit file sharers," she says. "Given the likelihood of false positives in technologies designed to filter out infringing content, I would be surprised if this experiment leads to anything but disgruntled customers - for ISPs and for the French recording industry both." French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir was more outspoken, describing the decision as "very harsh, potentially repressive, anti-economic and against the grain of the digital age".
2007-11-19 - The Guardian - Digital democracy
Author: Becky Hogge
Summary: The Open Rights Group is the prototype for a new breed of campaign group that the political and media elite simply cannot ignore. It has run two major campaigns, one to inform the reform of intellectual property law for the digital age, the other to halt the misguided introduction of digital technology to the electoral process. Now in the contacts book of dozens of journalists, its name has been heard in the debating chambers of Westminster, and its members have met with senior ministers and the opposition front bench to air their concerns.
2007-11-19 - Bedford Today - Government claims computer vote count success
Summary: More electoral experiments planned despite the problems encountered in Bedford. A row over Bedford's experiment in high-tech voting has been resurrected, after the Government described the pilot scheme as a success. ... This week a Government report claimed all of the pilots had "supported successful elections". But electronic watchdog the Open Rights Group (ORG) claimed the experiment had been a failure, which threatened to undermine democracy. ... Becky Hodge, executive director of the ORG, said: "Elections are one of the most complicated areas it is possible to conceive of to which to apply digital technology." "Not only must the system be robust and easy to use, it must ensure voters' anonymity and privacy, yet be transparent and auditable, and be completely secure against both external tampering and fraud by employees, consultants and the outsourced workers often used to develop components of the system." "Every voter expects their vote to count, and to count once. Until there is consensus that that expectation can be met, remote electronic voting should be reserved for the purposes for which it is fit - naming cats on Blue Peter and voting on the X Factor."
2007-11-15 - Computerworld UK - Fundamental failings in e-voting, says Open Rights group
Author: Tash Shifrin
Summary: A digital rights campaign group has warned that the government is ignoring fundamental failings in its trials of electronic voting technology. The group, which organised volunteers to monitor e-voting and e-counting pilots in the May elections, hit out at the government’s rejection of the Electoral Commission’s call to halt electronic voting trials. ... the Open Rights Group, which submitted its own highly critical 64-page report to the Electoral Commission in June, said its observers had seen significant problems. ... Becky Hogge, the Open Rights Group's executive director, said: "Every voter expects their vote to count, and to count once. Until there is consensus that that expectation can be met, remote electronic voting should be reserved for the purposes for which it is fit - naming cats on Blue Peter and voting on the X factor."
2007-11-14 - ZDNet - Digital rights group: E-voting fit only for X Factor
Summary: The Open Rights Group has criticised the government for standing by its plans to continue pilots for electronic voting and counting in England and Wales. ... The Open Rights Group (ORG), a digital rights advocacy group, issued a statement on Tuesday stating its "deep concern" at the government's response to an Electoral Commission report on the May 2007 e-voting and e-counting pilots. ORG observers were accredited by the Electoral Commission to monitor the pilots — and observed serious failings in the process.
2007-11-13 - Kable - Digital group declares dismay on e-voting
Summary: The Open Rights Group has criticised the government for standing by its plans to continue pilots for electronic voting and counting in England and Wales. This comes the day after the government rejected the Electoral Commission's recommendation that it should pull back from testing the technology in elections until a full electoral modernisation framework has been developed.
2007-11-13 - PC Pro - Privacy group slams government stance on e-voting
Author: Simon Aughton
Summary: The Open Rights Group has condemned the UK government's decision to continue with e-voting, despite calls from the Electoral Commission to abandon the scheme. The commission, which oversees all elections in the UK, called on the government in August to suspend internet voting until the current system had been modernised and made more secure.


2007-10-25 - PC Pro - Government ready to legislate on file-sharing
Author: Simon Aughton
Summary: The UK government is prepared to legislate to stop the illegal file sharing of copyrighted content, a minister has told the BBC. Speaking to Radio 4, Lord Triesman, the parliamentary Under Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills, said that the government was not prepared to tolerate "intellectual property theft". ... A spokesman for UK ISPs, however, argues that they cannot be expected to track every file that travels on their networks. A view backed up by Becky Hogge, executive director of The Open Rights Group, who tells PC Pro, that the comments are nothing new, and suggests the minister is overestimating the potential of a technical solution. "Solutions which attempt to detect whether data that moves across a network is in breach of copyright law, either by attempting to identify the content of that data or by attempting to identify the type of traffic, are too subject to error to be realistically and proportionately used for enforcement purposes," she argues. "And this is before you even start considering the potential privacy implications of monitoring internet traffic in this way."
2007-10-18 - The Telegraph - The day the music dies
Author: Shane Richmond
Summary: If you unwittingly downloaded music with inbuilt rights restrictions, you could find it stops working. That's hardly fair, says Shane Richmond. If the manager of your local record shop arrived at your door saying that his store had gone out of business and he needed his records back, you'd think he'd gone mad. You certainly wouldn't give him back the music. Sadly, real world norms don't always apply online, as customers of the Virgin Digital Music Club recently discovered. ... Becky Hogge, executive director of the Open Rights Group, which campaigns for consumer rights online, says: "If reputable brands such as Virgin can do this, then the lesson is that DRM music is not a safe purchase unless the provider allows you to rip it to a DRM-free format such as a CD. It also shows that the law is lacking and the public needs protection against this kind of abusive misuse of DRM."
Note: Full text of the interview here. Interview: Becky Hogge, Open Rights Group
2007-10-05 - Computer Weekly - Tories slam ‘gimmicky’ web voting and call for urgent action on e-crime
Author: Rebecca Thomson
Summary: IT skills, electronic elections and online security were the main IT issues discussed at the Conservative Party conference last week. ... Elsewhere at the conference, e-elections were branded "gimmicky" by an Open Rights Group fringe meeting. Jonathan Djanogly, MP for Huntingdon, said, "The key to healthy democracy does not lie in gimmicky use of text and internet votes. Simply computerising the system will not increase turn-out." Group member Jason Kitkat, who had seen several trials of e-counting, said observers could not express confidence in computer-counted results. "There were serious technical problems with the process - serious enough to threaten its integrity," he said. Kitkat added that very slight changes in ballot papers, imperceptible to the human eye, could change the way computers read the vote. "E-voting may be possible one day, but within the next 10 to 15 years, and within the current technological limits, it will not be," he said.


2007-09-18 - Contractor UK - EU court: Microsoft guilty of abuse
Summary: Microsoft was told three years ago to go away and do its homework after losing a competition ruling, but now the software giant concedes “additional steps” are still needed to comply. Brad Smith, Redmond’s general counsel, made the admission yesterday after the European Court of First Instance rejected Microsoft’s appeal against a fine of €497m (£750m). ... Last night, the Open Rights Group, a lobbyist against digital monopolists, said the court’s rejection of Microsoft’s appeal is “good news for consumers and business alike.”
2007-09-07 - Web User - Govt steps into iPlayer row
Author: Ben Camm-Jones
Summary: The government has responded to a petition signed by 16,000 people, demanding that the BBC make its video-on-demand service available on all platforms. ... The government responded by saying that it was satisfied that the BBC was going to make available on other operating systems, and that the BBC Trust - essentially the broadcaster's board of directors - would ensure that this happened. ... The Open Rights Group (ORG) described the government's response as "lacklustre" and pointed out that by launching on Windows first, the iPlayer afforded Microsoft a "significant competitive advantage". "What the Trust's provisions fail to acknowledge is the significant competitive advantage this lag time gives the purveyors of the only operating system currently supported by the iPlayer - Microsoft," a statement on the ORG blog said. "The Open Rights Group believes that the BBC should release content that has been bankrolled by license-fee payers in standard formats that are accessible to all," it continued.
2007-09-06 - Web User - Facebook privacy concerns aired
Author: Ben Camm-Jones
Summary: Social networking site Facebook is to allow anyone to search through its profiles in a controversial move. ... Becky Hogge of the Open Rights Group said that it was a development that needed to be watched closely, but there were steps anyone concerned about protecting their privacy on Facebook could take. "What needs to be emphasised is that individual users are able to control their profile," she told Web User.


2007-08-10 - Washington Post - UK report questions role of ISPs in online safety
Author: Jeremy Kirk
Summary: A new report on Internet safety has concluded ISPs (Internet service providers) should take more responsibility for online security since end users are often lax. ... The report, however, suggested a tightening of how that defense works in an effort to nip emerging security problems earlier, such as sites containing malicious software. "In particular, once an ISP has detected or been notified that an end-user machine on its network is sending out spam or infected code, we believe that the ISP should be legally liable for any damage to third parties resulting from a failure immediately to isolate the affected machine," the report said. But the Open Rights Group, a nongovernmental group that monitors Internet-related privacy and legal issues, urged caution on issues dealing with ISP liability. "As notice and takedown practices tied to suspected copyright infringement have shown, ISPs are not best placed to police the network, and can be expected to react to this kind of pressure by knocking users off the network without appropriate levels of investigation into those users' actions," the group wrote on its Web site.
2007-08-10 - PC World - Report: ISPs Should Take More Responsibility for Security
Author: Jeremy Kirk
Summary: UK report says ISPs should examine content flowing through their networks and apply filtering to cull malicious activity. ... But the Open Rights Group, a nongovernmental group that monitors Internet-related privacy and legal issues, urged caution on issues dealing with ISP liability. "As notice and takedown practices tied to suspected copyright infringement have shown, ISPs are not best placed to police the network, and can be expected to react to this kind of pressure by knocking users off the network without appropriate levels of investigation into those users' actions," the group wrote on its Web site.
2007-08-07 - BBC - The ghosts in the voting machines
Author: Bill Thompson
Summary: Following concerns about the accuracy of the electronic voting systems used in last year's the California state legislature commissioned computer science and cryptography experts at the University of California to review the main players ... Anyone looking for reassurance will have had their hopes dashed ... The report says that 'the security mechanisms provided for all systems analyzed were inadequate to ensure accuracy and integrity of the election results and of the systems that provide those results', which is about as bad as it gets. ... Here in the UK the Open Rights Group, resolute campaigners for civil liberties in the digital world, sent observers to several of the e-voting pilot projects in the May 2007 English and Scottish elections. They had to fight through a bureaucracy which seemed to see openness as a dangerous aberration, where 'observers were frequently subject to seemingly arbitrary and changeable decisions via unclear lines of authority', but the final report makes chilling reading. It outlines many problems, noting that 'inadequate attention was given to system design, systems access and audit trails. Systems used both inappropriate hardware and software, and were insufficiently secured'. A big problem for ORG is that 'E-voting is a 'black box system', where the mechanisms for recording and tabulating the vote are hidden from the voter. This makes public scrutiny impossible, and leaves statutory elections open to error and fraud'. The Electoral Commission, the body responsible for the administration of elections in the UK, has also been looking at the trials and it recently called for a halt to pilot projects while security and testing procedures are improved, an implicit admission that the ORG analysis of flaws in the May pilots was well-founded. We can only hope that these warnings are heeded, and that the UK politicians ...
2007-08-06 - Computerworld UK - E-voting must stop, warns Electoral Commission
Author: Tash Shifrin
Summary: Security and reliability 'needs to be improved'. The Electoral Commission has called for a halt to electronic voting unless major changes are made to the way the voting systems are implemented and secured. ... A report by independent observers from the Open Rights Group, published in June, painted a grim picture of crashed computers and concerns about the systems' security and reliability. The group’s concerns are echoed in the new reports.
Note: Also reprinted in PCWorld E-voting Must Stop, Warns U.K. Electoral Commission, Computerworld E-voting must stop, warns U.K. Electoral Commission
2007-08-06 - ITPro - E-borders could be used to enforce fines
Author: Nicole Kobie
Summary: The government's e-borders project could be used for more than preventing movement of criminals in and out of the country, a Home Office document has shown. ... However, for the data to be used in these ways, new secondary legislation must be introduced, the document said, a move that was criticised by digital rights campaigners. "What I think this... demonstrates is that advances in data collection, storage and mining have the power to fundamentally alter the relationship between citizen and state," said Becky Hogge, of campaigning organisation The Open Rights Group. "Rather than introducing these sorts of powers via secondary legislation, there needs to be a full public debate about data sharing in this country."
2007-08-06 - PC Pro - Anti-DRM campaigners plan BBC protests
Author: Simon Aughton
Summary: Anti-DRM campaigners are to hold demonstrations outside the BBC buildings in London and Manchester to protest about the usage restrictions embedded in the corporation's new iPlayer software. ... Becky Hogge, executive director of the Open Rights Group, notes. "What's really bizarre about the BBC's employment of DRM for the iPlayer is that their programmes can already be downloaded using PVRs that receive free-to-air digital transmissions," she says. "Media convergence means there is no practical difference between unencrypted satellite, free-to-air, DAB or the internet in terms of control of content."
2007-08-02 - ZDNet - Halt e-voting, says Electoral Commission
Author: David Meyer
Summary: Trials of electronic voting and vote-counting should be halted until the government can come up with a good reason for using the technology, the Electoral Commission has said ... A spokesperson for the Commission told on Thursday that a "robust electoral modernisation strategy" was needed to justify any further exploration of e-voting. "There is not a clear direction and a clear reason [for e-voting and e-counting]," the spokesperson said. This stance was echoed by Jason Kitcat of the Open Rights Group, an organisation that monitored the latest round of e-voting trials. "[The report] shows a complete lack of strategy as to why we're doing this," he told "No strategic plan has been published or consulted on, and there has been no consultation to parties or candidates or the general public. There is no clarity on what [the government] want."
2007-08-02 - PC PRO - Government urged to halt internet voting trials
Summary: The Electoral Commission has urged the UK Government to halt trials of telephone and internet voting. The organisation responsible for monitoring elections across the country believes that recent pilot tests in local elections have shown that the electoral system needs to be modernised and made more secure before e-voting is re-introduced. ... The Commission's findings were welcomed by the Open Rights Group (ORG), which opposed the recent e-voting trials. Executive director Becky Hogge claims that the Commission's report echoes the conclusions of ORG's own monitoring teams. "We're pleased that the Commission has recognised the desperate need for public debate about the role technology might play in our electoral system," she says. However she is concerned that the report does not address "fundamental" issues highlighted in ORG's e-voting briefing pack, namely that e-voting "is an incredibly complex and very expensive technology that introduces new risks, doubts, and opportunities for fraud and failure".
2007-08-02 - Web User - Online voting gets thumbs-down
Author: Ben Camm-Jones
Summary: A report from the Electoral Commission has criticised trials of online voting that took place in May's local elections. According to the Commission the pilot schemes were flawed, especially when it came to the counting of votes. ... The Open Rights Group welcomed the Electoral Commission's verdict but expressed concerns about shortcomings in the report. "We're pleased that the Commission has recognised the desperate need for public debate about the role technology might play in our electoral system. But we're disappointed that the fundamental challenges in using computers for elections have not been fully recognised by the report," the Open Rights Group said in a statement on its website.
2007-08-02 - BBC News - Halt e-voting, says election body
Summary: Web and phone voting pilots should be stopped until security and testing have been improved, the Electoral Commission has said. It said much has been learnt from recent pilots, but added that "there is little merit" in holding more. ... Concerns were raised about low public confidence in the security of internet and phone voting, accessibility, and technical difficulties. The commission called on the government to publish a strategy for modernising the electoral process - including changes to improve security. ... The Open Rights Group (ORG) said: "The government does not seem to be learning the lessons of previous pilots." "We believe this technology is not appropriate for public elections, and now is the time for a public debate."


2007-07-17 - Computer World - Opposition MPs warn on 'piecemeal' data protection changes
Author: Tash Shifrin
Summary: Opposition MPs and campaigners have warned that changes to data protection rights are being made without proper scrutiny after prime minister Gordon Brown slipped a raft of new data sharing powers into his proposed programme of legislation. ... Becky Hogge, executive director of data privacy campaign the Open Rights Group, said: "This is a worrying trend. The debate doesn’t seem to be one we’re having out in the open. Lots of this is tacked on to bills that are not ostensibly about data sharing." "This level of data sharing does have the power to alter the relation between citizen and state." Any relaxation of data protection laws should be "closely scrutinised and evaluated", she warned.
2007-07-17 - ZDNet - BBC iPlayer launch on, despite crack
Author: David Meyer
Summary: The launch of the BBC's new media player will not be delayed by a new crack for the digital rights management features of Windows Media Player, the corporation said on Tuesday. ... But some continue to argue against any inclusion of DRM in the iPlayer. Becky Hogge, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said on Monday that, although the BBC was including DRM at the wishes of rights holders, it was questionable as to whether DRM was suitable for its audience. "Most people in the technical community understand the cat and mouse game," she told, adding that it was "unfortunate" that the BBC was launching the iPlayer with DRM just as those in the recording industry — a reference to EMI and Apple's recent decision to move away from copy-protected music tracks — were realising it was a "flawed methodology".
2007-07-07 - BBC Black Country - Talking about a revolution
Summary: Hundreds of Linux users from across the world met in Wolverhampton on the 7th and 8th July 2007. They got together to talk about software, digital rights and freedoms. They had some fun, too. ... The event continued on the Sunday with a full programme including a lively discussion on digital rights, freedoms and the implications of electronic voting lead by Becky Hogge of the Open Rights Group. The discussion included a question and answer session with the developer of the BBC iPlayer where the Linux and open source community's concerns over being locked out from the service were expressed.
2007-07-06 - Bedford Today - Watchdog lays into election experiment
Author: Ben Raza
Summary: Government's e-counting pilot threatened to undermine faith in democracy, says report. ... A new report by electronic watchdog the Open Rights Group (ORG) has revealed a long list of further concerns. ... Concerns on the night were so serious that at 10pm representatives from the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups collectively called for a manual recount of the votes, only to be turned down by returning officer Shaun Field.
2007-07-05 - BBC News - E-voters 'not boosting turnout'
Summary: Internet and phone voting does not seem to boost turnout at local elections in England, according to BBC analysis. Analysis of pilot projects since 2002 suggests that those people who voted online would have voted anyway. BBC political research editor David Cowling said postal voting was the only option which seemed to boost turnout. ... In June the Open Rights Group warned e-voting could undermine British democracy and called for it to be abandoned until it was to be proved reliable. The group said e-voting did not allow people to see how their votes were recorded or counted, making oversight of elections "impossible" and open to fraud.
2007-07-03 - ZDNet - UK Archives, Microsoft tackle format obsolescence
Summary: Archives chief Natalie Ceeney said society faced the possibility of “losing years of critical knowledge” because modern PCs could not always open old file formats. Thus the Archives welcomed a Microsoft initiative to allow PCs to read old documents in their native formats. ... While Frazer ballyhooed Microsoft’s Open XML as proof of this new commitment, advocates of the truly standards-based Open Document Format questioned Microsoft’s motives in creating its own standards-based format and then offering a translation tool. Ben Laurie, director of the Open Rights Group, said: "This is a well-known, standard Microsoft move. Microsoft likes lock-ins. Typically what happens is that you end up with two or three standards."
2007-07-03 - BBC News - Warning of data ticking time bomb
Summary: The growing problem of accessing old digital file formats is a "ticking time bomb", the chief executive of the UK National Archives has warned. ... She was speaking at the launch of a partnership with Microsoft to ensure the Archives could read old formats. ... But some critics question Microsoft's approach and ask why the firm has created its own new standard, rather than adopting a rival system, called the Open Document Format. Instead, Microsoft has released a tool which can translate between the two formats. Ben Laurie, director of the Open Rights Group, said: "This is a well-known, standard Microsoft move." "Microsoft likes lock-ins. Typically what happens is that you end up with two or three standards."


2007-06-30 - New Scientist - Electronic polling gets vote of no confidence
Summary: Trials of e-voting machines and optical scanners used to count paper ballots were held during local elections last month in England and Scotland. In a report into the trials released last week, the London-based Open Rights Group says it cannot express confidence in the results of ballots which use such systems. Observers spotted a host of problems with e-voting machines, including insecure software, error messages and poorly designed encoded receipts. Malfunctions and software errors delayed counts using optical scanners and, in some cases, electronic counts differed widely from manual ones. From issue 2610 of New Scientist magazine, page 25
2007-06-25 - - Call for e-voting to be scrapped amid security fears
Author: Andy McCue
Summary: Official observers express "deep concerns" after May election trials. Privacy campaigners have called for any further e-voting trials to be scrapped after uncovering evidence of poor security, inadequate audit trails, equipment failures and an over-dependence on technology suppliers during the May local elections. The Open Rights Group (ORG) had a team of 25 officially accredited election observers at the e-voting and e-counting pilots and has expressed "deep concern" about the use of the technology in a report of its findings.
2007-06-22 - BBC News - E-vote 'threat' to UK democracy
Summary: British democracy could be undermined by moves to use electronic voting in elections, warns a report. The risks involved in swapping paper ballots for touch screens far outweigh any benefits they may have, says the Open Rights Group report. It based its conclusions on reports from observers who watched e-voting trials in May's local elections.
2007-06-22 - - net.wars: Many hidden returns
Author: Wendy M Grossman
Summary: This week, the Open Rights Group released its report on the May 7 electronic voting pilots, conducted during by-elections in various locations in England and across all of Scotland. ORG observed these as closely as it could through the eyes of 25 volunteers. Much of the report should be familiar to anyone who's read about similar trials and pilot projects in the US and elsewhere (especially the UK's own 2003 trials). There were technical problems when equipment failed or had to be rebooted. There were people problems, when both voters and officials were uncertain how to make machines work. There were security issues, as when ORG observers found PCs and switches with open ports and no one watching them. And there were design problems, when ballot layouts confused voters into spoiling ballots. Sound familiar?
2007-06-22 - Guardian - Schools warn of abuse risk from IT database
Author: James Meikle
Summary: Misuse of an electronic database holding sensitive information on 11 million children in England could lead to millions of breaches of security each year, it is claimed today. Privacy campaigners and independent schools have warned of the "enormous" potential for abuse of the huge IT system to be launched next year. ... But today's letter, signed by representatives of the Independent Schools Council, Action on Rights for Children, the Foundation for Information Policy Research, the Open Rights Group and Privacy International, says that the problems of "a potentially leaky and inadequate system" must be solved before the plan goes further. It claims that evidence from Leeds NHS trust last year suggested that in one month staff logged 70,000 incidents of inappropriate access. "On the basis of these figures, misuse of the ContactPoint system could run to 1,650,000 incidents a month."
2007-06-21 - Slashdot - E-Voting Report Finds Problems with Modern Elections
Summary: The Open Rights Group has released a report on challenges faced by voting technology. Using the May 2007 Scottish/English elections as a testbed, researchers have collated hundreds of observations into a verdict on voting in the digital age. 'The report provides a comprehensive look at elections that used e-counting or e-voting technologies. As a result of the report's findings ORG cannot express confidence in the results for the areas we observed. This is not a declaration we take lightly but, despite having had accredited observers on location, having interviewed local authorities and having filed Freedom of Information requests, ORG is still not able to verify if votes were counted accurately and as voters intended.' The report is available online in pdf format for download."
2007-06-21 - Kable - Report gives thumbs down to e-voting
Summary: The Open Rights Group (ORG) has given a vote of no confidence to the recent round of e-voting pilots. It published a report on 20 June 2007 that includes scathing criticisms of the way e-voting and e-counting proceeded at a number of sites during the local government elections last month. ORG said it cannot express confidence in the results declared in the areas observed, and remains opposed to the introduction of e-voting and e-counting in the UK. The group – a non-governmental organisation that deals with information management and privacy issues – was given accredited observer status at the elections by the Electoral Commission. It placed observers at sites in England and Scotland to record how the pilots performed. The report says there is an underlying problem with e-voting being a "black box system" where the mechanisms for recording and tabulating the vote are hidden from the voter. This makes public scrutiny impossible and leaves statutory elections open to error and fraud.
2007-06-21 - CIO - Report Slams U.K. E-voting Trials
Author: Jeremy Kirk
Summary: The United Kingdom's trial of e-voting and e-counting technologies during last month's local elections resulted in crashed computers and technicians scratching their heads while posing new concerns about the systems' security and reliability, a new report has concluded. In one area of England, a manual recount performed after e-counting equipment was abandoned because of delays turned up a raft of uncounted votes, said Jason Kitcat, e-voting coordinator for the Open Rights Group, which deployed observers to polling sites in England and Scotland.
2007-06-21 - Computer World - Report slams May elections e-voting trials
Author: Jeremy Kirk
Summary: The e-voting and e-counting technologies piloted in last month's local elections crashed computers and raised concerns about the systems' security and reliability, a new report has concluded. ... But observers from the Open Rights Group found that in one area of England, a manual recount – carried out after e-counting equipment was abandoned due to delays – turned up a raft of uncounted votes. The group, which has been critical of e-voting and e-counting, has submitted its 64-page report to the Electoral Commission, which will publish its own report on the pilot e-voting schemes on 3 August.
2007-06-21 - PC Advicer - Election e-voting trials slammed
Author: Jeremy Kirk
Summary: Trials of e-voting and e-counting technologies during last month's local elections resulted in crashed computers and new concerns about the systems' security and reliability, a report has concluded. ... In one area a manual recount performed after e-counting equipment was abandoned because of delays turned up a raft of uncounted votes, said Jason Kitcat, e-voting coordinator for the Open Rights Group, which deployed observers to polling sites in England and Scotland. The Open Rights Group, which has been critical of e-voting and e-counting, has submitted its 64-page report to the UK Electoral Commission, which will publish its own report on the trials on August 3.
2007-06-21 - Sheffield Star - High-tech voting system branded a flop
Author: Lucy Ashton
Summary: Telephone and internet voting in Sheffield's local elections has been branded a flop and criticised for being "open to error and fraud". The Open Rights Group, which aims to protect people's privacy and identity, has released a report which condemns the new voting methods, which have been tried out by a number of councils, including Sheffield.
2007-06-20 - Swindon Advertiser - Borough's elec-chronic voting under scrutiny
Summary: The borough council's election results have been called into question in a damning report. The Open Rights Group queried the results after computer problems plagued Swindon's e-voting trial. But the council has insisted the outcome of the May 3 elections was accurate.
2007-06-20 - The Register - Open Rights Group recounts e-voting horror story
Author: Lucy Sherriff
Summary: The Open Rights Group (ORG) has condemned the May 2007 pilots of e-voting and electronic vote counting in the English and Scottish local elections, saying the technology involved is simply not suitable for use in statutory elections. "We came into this not as a blank sheet," ORG e-voting coordinator Jason Kitcat concedes. "But even so, the scale of the problems was unexpected." He argues that the kinds of mistakes and oversights witnessed by the ORG's observers will lead to a decay in trust in the electoral system.
2007-06-20 - Swindon Advertiser - Town's e-voting "unreliable"
Author: Kevin Burchall
Summary: Computer experts have described laptop computers used in the town's local elections as "unreliable". The Open Rights Group said it could not express confidence in the election results recorded in areas where it observed the counting of votes. ... Alan Winchcombe, the town's deputy returning officer, blamed the problems on a lack of time to implement the computerised voting systems.
2007-06-20 - The Guardian - Counting error almost gave Labour Scottish election victory
Author: David Hencke and Bobbie Johnson
Summary: The misreading of a computer file by exhausted vote counters almost gave Jack McConnell a Labour victory in the Scottish parliamentary elections last month, an official observer's report into the election has revealed. ... The report, put together by digital advocacy organisation the Open Rights Group, claims that there were serious technical problems in electronic votes across the country in the local and regional elections on May 3. ... "I think our findings confirm that e-voting and e-counting are not ready for this," said Jason Kitcat, campaign coordinator with ORG. "There were so many candidates who were concerned that they could not see what going on, and the number of problems show that this technology is not suitable."
2007-06-20 - Norfolk Eastern Daily Press - Scathing report on Brecks election farce
Summary: Electronic voting trials which created farcical scenes in Norfolk and other areas of Britain during last month's local elections are today criticised in a scathing report by computer experts. ... As the Open Rights Group issued its report about "serious concerns" over electronic voting technology, Breckland Council admitted "difficulties would have to be ironed out" before it would use e-counting again. ... It said it could not express confidence in the election results recorded in areas where it watched the counting of votes. The report found the only ward in England where votes were counted both manually and electronically - Dereham Humbletoft ward in Breckland - the number of ballots recorded was 56pc higher when counted by hand rather than by machine.
2007-06-20 - Channel 4 - Thumbs down to e-voting
Summary: Computer experts invited to observe last month's elections raised "serious concerns" over the use of new electronic voting technology in a report. The Open Rights Group (ORG) said it could not express confidence in the election results recorded in areas where it observed the counting of votes.
2007-06-20 - Daily Mail - 'Serious concerns' that e-voting will lead to more spoilt votes
Summary: Computer experts have raised "serious concerns" over the use of electronic voting technology, a report released reveals. The Open Rights Group said it is opposed to the introduction of e-voting and e-counting after it oversaw last month's local elections.
2007-06-20 - Channel 4 News - 'Serious concerns' over e-voting
Summary: Computer experts invited to observe last month's elections have raised "serious concerns" over the use of new electronic voting technology. ... The ORG raised concerns that e-voting elections are "open to error and fraud" because they use "black box systems" where the mechanisms for recording and tabulating the vote are hidden away, making public scrutiny impossible. The lack of reliable "audit trails" allowing counts to be checked meant that there was "no meaningful way to verify that voters' intentions had been accurately counted".
2007-06-20 - The Guardian - Thumbs down to e-voting
Summary: Computer experts invited to observe last month's elections raised "serious concerns" over the use of new electronic voting technology in a report. The Open Rights Group (ORG) said it could not express confidence in the election results recorded in areas where it observed the counting of votes.
2007-06-15 - OUT-LAW.COM - Rock star says piracy battle is lost
Summary: Major record labels are still fighting the piracy battles of 1997 according to a leading rock musician and digital rights activist. Blur drummer Dave Rowntree told OUT-LAW that they should have realised in 1997 that their battle was already lost. ... Rowntree advises digital rights advocacy group the Open Rights Group and has been a vocal opponent of the mainstream record industry's policies of chasing individual file sharers. When told that the last Blur album was leaked on to the internet he reportedly said "I'd rather it gushed".
Note: Reprinted in The Register. Rock star says piracy battle is lost
2007-06-03 - The Independant on Sunday - The great escape: Blur's Alex James on the (quiet sober) afterlife of the drunkest band in pop
Author: Ed Caesar
Summary: Rowntree has fought hard to oppose any ban on file- sharing and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Open Rights Group. Indeed, when asked how he felt about new songs being leaked on the internet before their official release, he said, "I'd rather it gushed."


2007-05-18 - New Statesman - Pity poor Cliff
Author: Sian Berry
Summary: It’s hard to feel sorry for Sirs Cliff Richard and Paul McCartney, and very easy to dismiss the call this week for copyright on music recordings to be extended from 50 years to 95 or even 'life plus 70 years'. The poor things have been at it for so long that their early recordings are starting to fall out of copyright, which means they will soon begin to miss out on some royalties. ... Early Day Motion ... House of Commons Culture Committee ... The Open Rights Group, who are opposed to the abuse of digital rights and campaign for copyright reform and greater access to knowledge, has detailed how most innovation in the UK music scene comes from independent labels that are not dependent on long-ago hits, and that only a tiny minority of artists receive the bulk of royalties. Less than half a percent of artists receive anything that could be called a ‘pension’ and most receive nothing at all beyond their original advance. In reality, it is only the record companies who are making money, as they take their accumulated share of royalty payments from the large catalogues they control.
2007-05-17 - The Guardian, Technology Blog - XTech 2007: Digital rights and democracy
Author: Kevin Anderson
Summary: The UK had local elections on 3 May, and ORG has been campaigning about e-voting. E-voting is a black box system. You can't tell if your vote is being recorded as you wish. There are concerns about preserving anonymity, security and accuracy. Problems with the pen and paper ballot tend to be randomly distributed whereas problems with e-voting tend to be systematic. E-voting doesn't improve voter turnout, and she took issue with a recent YouGov poll which said that more youth would vote if e-voting was an option. ... One candidate said to an observer: "I guess because it is not a manual process, nothing can go wrong."
2007-05-16 - The Register - MPs cosy up with Sir Cliff on copyright term
Author: Chris Williams
Summary: A report released today by the Commons Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee attempts to torpedo the recommendations of last year's wide-ranging intellectual property report for the Treasury by Andrew Gowers, the former editor of the Financial Times. ... Releasing its counter arguments in "New Media and the Creative Industries", the select committee said Gowers had failed to give proper weight to the "moral right" of Sir Cliff to retain ownership of his 1958 performance on Move It. The committee is chaired by Conservative John Whittingdale, who has acted as a spokesman for record industry trade body the BPI in the past on its battle with digital music trends. ... The parliamentary moves to reanimate the debate have drawn consternation from the Open Rights Group, among others. It has a list of the MPs who have signed the motion here.
2007-05-15 - PC Pro - 75 MPs back copyright extension motion
Author: Simon Aughton
Summary: Seventy-five MPs have signed a parliamentary motion calling for an extension of the lifetime of copyright on sound recordings. ... An EU report subsequently agreed with Gowers that the 50-year term was sufficient, arguing that any extension would 'strengthen and prolong' the major record companies dominance of the market 'to the detriment of competition'. ... Connarty disagrees, arguing that it is low-earning musicians who lose out. ... The Open Rights Group disagrees, saying that certain politicians 'appear to be neglecting their IP studies'.
2007-05-12 - The Guardian - Google may use games to analyse net users
Author: David Adam and Bobbie Johnson
Summary: Internet giant Google has drawn up plans to compile psychological profiles of millions of web users by covertly monitoring the way they play online games. ... Sue Charman of online campaign Open Rights Group said: "I can understand why they are interested in this, but I would be deeply disturbed by a company holding a psychological profile. "Whenever you have large amounts of information it becomes attractive to people - we've already seen the American federal government going to court over data from companies including Google."
2007-05-10 - - Open Rights Group reports problems in every election they have monitored
Summary: Open Rights Group observers have reported problems in every election they have monitored. Accredited by the Electoral Commission Open Rights Group observers monitored elections in Bedford, Rushmoor, Sheffield, Shrewsbury & Atcham, Stratford-upon-Avon, Swindon, and South Bucks in England as well as Edinburgh, Glasgow and East Dunbartonshire in Scotland.
2007-05-06 - Swindon Advertiser - Voting shambles blamed on rush
Author: Sarah Hilley
Summary: A lack of time to plan computerised voting has been blamed for problems that Swindon residents faced on polling day. Counting officers had to revert to old-fashioned pen and paper when wireless connections failed at Covingham and Lawn polling stations. E-voting coordinator at Open Rights Group, Jason Kitcat, said: "We were aware of problems with regards to the conduct of the count." "We have been very concerned by the numbers of areas in which problems have been reported."
2007-05-04 - ComputerworldUK - Computer problems delay Scottish election results
Author: Tash Shifrin
Summary: The results of Scotland’s elections have been thrown into chaos and results delayed by technical problems with the newly introduced electronic counting system. The Electoral Commission announced a full independent review as it emerged that counting in elections for the Scottish Parliament and local government had been delayed in many areas of the country. ... Data privacy campaign the Open Rights Group said its independent observers had noted problems both in Scotland and in England, where 12 local authority areas piloted new voting and counting technologies including internet and telephone voting. The group’s e-voting coordinator, Jason Kitcat, said: “Our observers can confirm that they are reporting problems in Scotland and England in areas where there are new technologies.” Observers had seen “a similar type of problem” with electronic counting in England to that in Scotland, “and some problems with internet and phone voting as well”, he said
2007-05-03 - The Guardian - Hacking the online ballot box
Author: Danny Bradbury
Summary: Today, some councils will offer voting via the internet. But exactly how accountable, secure, and desirable are the online polling systems? ... In spite of security evaluations carried out by both the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) and the Electoral Commission, the Guardian revealed yesterday that independent experts have identified flaws in at least two of the projects in this year's election pilots, calling them "catastrophically weak" and claiming it would be "trivial" to manipulate votes in some districts testing the software. The Guardian has been shown a number of web pages with example exploits against online voting pages operated by Intelivote Systems, the small Canadian firm which provided the technology for ES&S, a giant election services company managing the project for both Rushmoor and South Bucks. ... Nevertheless, Jason Kitcat, voting campaign coordinator at UK e-democracy organisation the Open Rights Group worries that the lack of a paper trail makes oversight difficult and threatens democracy. "You can't see anything, and because it's digital, copying a million votes is as easy as copying one vote," he argues.
2007-05-01 - The Guardian - Vote early, vote often
Author: David Hencke
Summary: New registration and counting procedures to be used in this week's local elections could be a disaster. ... Similarly, new laws and regulations have allowed independent observers to check out new e-voting and e-counting procedures as a safeguard against fraud and to protect voter security. But again newly accredited observers have found they cannot by right have access to council computers and e-counting centres because officials forgot to give them powers to demand it. So at the moment one group of 30 observers from the Open Rights Group have to beg councils - already fearful they could be criticised if they get things wrong - for access to vital areas. While in Scotland e-counting for the parliamentary elections are being entrusted to an American company without full auditing and trials.
2007-05-01 - The Register - Observers forced to 'negotiate' for evote access
Author: Lucy Sherriff
Summary: Independent observers are being blocked from properly observing the trials of electronic voting at the UK's forthcoming local elections. Jason Kitcat, e-voting coordinator for the Open Rights Group (ORG), says that one of the councils involved in the pilots of electronic and remote voting technologies has refused to allow the ORG's observers access to the servers on which the votes will be stored and counted. He declined to name the council concerned.


2007-04-30 - Times - E-votes put wrong name next to the Labour rose
Author: Sam Coates
Summary: The first signs of problems with this year’s internet voting trials have been discovered, with a candidate’s name matched to the wrong party logo. ... Concerns have emerged about the way the systems have been introduced rapidly and secretly. The Open Rights Group-monitoring organ-isation believes that internet voting systems are vulnerable to attacks on the server where the vote is stored and on the computer used to cast the ballot.
2007-04-30 - The Guardian - Council poll monitors fear e-vote fraud
Author: David Hencke
Summary: Some councils are refusing independent observers full access to e-voting and e-counting centres for Thursday's elections, raising the fear that the experiments will not be monitored for potential fraud and breaches of voter privacy. The Guardian has learned that 30 independent observers accredited by the Electoral Commission are having to negotiate with councils on how much access they will get because ministers forgot to grant them the legal right to demand access to council servers and e-counting centres. ... Jason Kitcat, e-voting coordinator for the Open Rights Group, accredited by the commission, said yesterday: "All of them have agreed in principle that we can come but we are relying on grace and favour agreements on where we can go."
2007-04-23 - PC Advicer - UK group pushes to monitor e-voting
Author: Jeremy Kirk
Summary: A UK group is pressing for access to monitor UK local elections next month, where a range of e-voting and counting technologies will be used. The Open Rights Group, a London-based non-governmental group, expects to hear from local government authorities and vendors in the next few days whether they'll have access to polling and counting areas on election day on 3 May.
2007-04-23 - Computeractive - Local elections get digital observers
Author: Anthony Dhanendran
Summary: Open Rights Group sends monitors to polling stations in England and Wales. Electoral observers in England an Wales will be monitoring May's local elections to make sure trials of electronic voting methods are going as planned. The Open Rights Group, which campaigns for digital rights in the UK, is to send volunteers to monitor proceedings at 30 local authorities.
2007-04-20 - - For the record 20 April
Author: Maxim Kelly
Summary: The Open Rights Group will be sending 30 observers to monitor electronic voting pilot schemes in upcoming UK elections in May. The group said voter privacy, vulnerability to fraud and general electoral transparency of e-voting will be under close scrutiny. Observers will travel to several English electoral pilot schemes, which are deploying internet voting, telephone voting and electronic counting technologies, and will also be monitoring Scottish elections where e-counting is set to be deployed widely for the first time.
2007-04-20 - Computer World UK - Watchdog group presses to monitor e-voting in May elections
Author: Jeremy Kirk
Summary: A group of digital rights and privacy campaigners is pressing for access to monitor next month’s local elections, where a range of e-voting and counting technologies will be used. ... The 3 May elections mark a significant test for e-voting technologies. But new methods of voting and counting introduced since 2000 have raised concerns over privacy, security and the ability to perform recounts - as have e-voting systems deployed elsewhere in the world.
2007-04-20 - The Register - ORG plots e-voting observation
Author: Lucy Sherriff
Summary: The ORG plans to send its observers to Bedford, Rushmoor, Sheffield, Shrewsbury and Atcham, South Bucks, Stratford, and Swindon. It also plans to send people to monitor the Scottish elections where electronic counting will be used for the first time. Jason Kitcat, e-voting coordinator for the Open Rights Group, said: "Our observation mission aims to provide an independent viewpoint on how these new technologies are used in our election systems."
2007-04-20 - InfoWorld/IDG News Service - Group pushes to monitor U.K. e-voting next month
Author: Jeremy Kirk
Summary: The Open Rights Group, a nongovernmental group based in London, expects to hear back in the next few days from local government authorities and vendors whether they'll have access to polling and counting areas on election day on May 3, said Jason Kitcat, e-voting coordinator with the group. The group's volunteers want to monitor how systems protect voter privacy and their vulnerability to fraud, Kitcat said. The group's findings will be submitted to the Electoral Commission, a body set up by Parliament that will provide a report by Aug. 3 on how well the voting pilot programs performed.
2007-04-17 - International Herold Tribune - France to choose president with help of electronic voting
Author: Thomas Crampton
Summary: Election day in France has long had a distinctive Gallic feel, with tricolor flags and voters following a generations-old system of slipping paper ballots into an envelope that, under the scrutiny of three officials, gets pushed into a box that often chimes to acknowledge the vote cast. This month, however, up to 1.5 million of the 43 million eligible French voters will break from the past to use computers at the voting booth to elect their president for the first time. ... "Computers cannot do something both verifiable and anonymous," said Jason Kitkat, the campaign manager against electronic voting for the London-based Open Rights Group, a citizen group dedicated to digital rights. Government officials often fail to appreciate how voting machines can fall victim to human error, Kitkat said. In a May 2003 election in Schaerbeek, Belgium, a human error in data entry caused the voting machines to return more votes to the winner than there were eligible voters in the district. "Governments spend more time regulating health and safety than security issues around voting machines," Kitkat said. "There is little appreciation of the dangers inherent in trusting a machine that can break or be controlled by someone."
2007-04-10 - New Statesman - Righting digital wrongs
Author: Mike Butcher
Summary: The Open Rights Group is up for an award in the Advocacy category. This non-profit organisation was founded in 2005 from a simple request put up by technology journalist Danny O'Brien and supported by technology advocate Sue Charman, showing perhaps the early power of grassroots online fundraising. In just over a year it has done quite a lot for such a tiny organisation, raising awareness of privacy in the new age of digital interaction, identity, data protection, access to knowledge and copyright reform. Perhaps its most useful work has been to educate journalists who have to navigate the thorny issues around digital rights abuses.


2007-03-26 - Guardian - Expanding networks
Author: Megan Griffith
Summary: People have always come together through membership of formal organisations and informal groups, whether for mutual support, to provide a service or to campaign for change. ... The rapid growth of the internet and its ability to connect people in new ways is impacting on the relationships that individuals have with each other and with organisations, and on the communities of which they are a part. ... and the emergence of the Open Rights Group, which was quickly established through the financial support of interested people using the site PledgeBank.
2007-03-22 - Guardian - Changing media summit: the wrongs of rights...
Author: Roy Greenslade
Summary: Digital rights management is a controversial topic, but the session entitled "I'll see you in court: the rights and wrongs of DRM" was rather uncontroversial. Though the speakers held broadly different views, their contributions recognised that there is no hard and fast answer. Should copyright holders prevent the unauthorised duplication of their work to ensure continued revenue streams? Or should there by a totally open house? Ian Brown, a board member of the Open Rights group, evidently demolished the case for DRM last year. But he returned today to say once again that DRM technology cannot cope, won't ever cope and should not cope. People must be able to do as they wish with creative content. Indeed, they already are. He said that music executives (unnamed) say that DRM is reducing music sales, and that the artistes who release their work in MP3 formats, to circumvent DRM, are doing better than those who do not. "We should move to an unprotected format", he said.
2007-03-17 - The Register - Dutch FOI disclosures reveal the odd business of evoting
Author: Lucy Sherriff
Summary: Freedom of information disclosures in the Netherlands have revealed details of a bizarre dispute between Dutch electoral authorities and the supplier of the software used to administrate the elections. ... Jason Kitcat of the Open Rights Group says it is "very worrying" that someone so important to democracy in the Netherlands would behave in this way. He says the scrutiny that e-voting is now getting in the region is long past due: "The Dutch have had evoting for years, and it has always had pretty lax monitoring. [After the hacks were broadcast] the government got interested and started asking for checks on the software."
2007-03-16 - BBC - Digital lock's rights and wrongs
Author: Spencer Kelly
Summary: In the 80s, according to record companies, home taping was killing music. Fast forward some 20 years and the devices we use to listen to music may have changed, but the recording industry is still claiming that the illegal copying of their product harms future production. ... "It may have the effect of popularising music and leading to more sales" Becky Hogge, Open Rights Group
Summary: [rtsp://"BBC"&author="BBC"©right="(C) British Broadcasting Corporation" Extended audio DRM debate with IFPI and ORG] (Real stream) [rtsp://"BBC"&author="BBC"©right="(C) British Broadcasting Corporation" Extended video DRM interview with LoveFilm CEO]
2007-03-13 - The Register - ORG to enlighten music industry on DRM's limitations
Author: Lucy Sherriff
Summary: The Open Rights Group (ORG) is developing a new paper to inform the music industry about the technical suitability of Digital Rights Management (DRM) as an aid to enforcing copyright. The paper is conceived as a way to inform the current debates about DRM, to break a very technical subject area down into terms that the average music industry executive can understand. It aims to counter the perception of DRM as a magic bullet that will save the record industry from illegal copying.
2007-03-08 - The Register - Volunteers sought to scrutinise UK e-voting trials
Author: John Leyden
Summary: A campaign group is seeking volunteers to scrutinse e-voting trials during May's local elections in the UK. The Open Rights Group (ORG) is looking for people prepared to "devote their day to democracy" and become an Electoral Commission accredited election observer for the e-voting pilots on Thursday 3 May. The ORG will provide full instructions to volunteers on what they'll be expected to do on the day, and tips on what to look out for in the operation of e-voting machines.
2007-03-07 - Boing Boing - Brit e-voting scruitneers needed!
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: E-voting (the "e" stands for "easily corrupted") voting is coming to the UK and the Open Rights Group is seeking volunteers to keep an eye on the infernal machines come the May election.


2007-02-22 - International Herald Tribune - Auto insurance set by when and where you drive
Author: Thomas Crampton
Summary: Jonathan Hick, a 21-year-old student at the University of Nottingham, likes to think of himself as independent-minded. Nonetheless, he recently let his insurance company install a system that uses satellites to track every movement his car makes. ... Nonetheless, customers should be wary of signing up for electronic systems that reveal private information, like their exact whereabouts, said Becky Hogge, executive director of the Open Rights Group, a British digital- rights lobbying group. "People should always be wary and aware when information is gathered about their movements," Hogge said. "Just because information is held by a private company does not mean the government cannot request it." For those willing to disclose their whereabouts, location-based insurance is just one many possible uses for such technology in cars, said Robert Gifford, the executive director of Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, an advocacy group.
2007-02-20 - ZDNet - Government rejects calls for DRM ban
Author: Graeme Wearden
Summary: The UK government has rejected a call for digital rights management to be banned in the UK, but has acknowledged that the technology could undermine consumer rights. ... In the UK, the Open Rights Group campaigns against technologies such as DRM, which it believes can undermine the rights of users. Becky Hogge, executive director at the Open Rights Group, believes that public awareness of the issues surrounding DRM is growing. "DRM had been seen in the past as a niche technology issue, but there is now rising consumer awareness about it," she told ZDNet UK. Hogge added that some DRM technologies put restrictions on users that run counter to their rights under copyright law. For example, a blanket ban on copying prevents an individual from taking a sample for review or illustrative purposes, as they are allowed to under the "fair use" provisions within copyright law. "DRM attempts to enforce copyright, but it does it badly," Hogge said.
2007-02-19 - BBC - Net giant supports open ID scheme
Summary: AOL has joined Microsoft in supporting Open ID, giving the free identification scheme 63 million new users. ... Rufus Pollock, director of the Open Knowledge Foundation and board member of the Open Rights Group, said the adoption of Open ID-like systems was a good for consumers. "They're very powerful because ID platforms present plentiful opportunity for lock-in, particularly if they could be a central point of access in the online world," he said. "If one individual firm controlled the system, it could be very anti-competitive," he added. ... Though OpenID does provide some security benefits it is not inherently more secure, said Ben Laurie, also of the Open Rights Group.
2007-02-13 - BBC World Service - Anti E-Voting
Author: Gareth Mitchell
Summary: Electronic voting is getting plenty of attention at the moment - with automated polling machines playing a big part in recent mid term elections in the United States and especially December's presidential election in Venezuela. A growing band of activists say that e-voting doesn't work. A group of them gathered in London at the Open Rights Groups e-voting sessions last week to discuss the issue, so Gareth went to meet them to hear their concerns.
2007-02-12 - Slashdot - IPRED2 - Open Rights Group vs. Their Rights Online
Summary: The British Open Rights Groups yells the alarm bell. Europe again. Ipred v.2, a directive proposal, will pass the Legal Affairs Committee soon. ipred2 would brand 'all intentional intellectual property rights infringements on a commercial scale' a criminal offence, thus the public prosecutor will take action and take over the role of RIAA
2007-02-09 - The Register - E-voting pilots don't make sense
Author: Lucy Sherriff
Summary: Last week, the Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA) made public the list of local authorities that will be piloting both supervised and remote electronic voting schemes in the May 2007 local elections, despite concerns over unproven technologies and the lack of an audit trail. ... Despite our best efforts, the DCA was not inclined to elaborate on what has changed in the 18 months since the time was declared "not right" for evoting. ... There is also no evidence to support the assertion that voting machines or internet voting will increase voter turnout, something the government keeps wheeling out as its reason for modernising the voting system. If anything, it the trials conducted so far indicate the reverse, according to Jason Kitcat of the Open Rights Group. He says that his investigations have revealed that an apathetic electorate actually stayed home in greater numbers during previous evoting trials.
2007-02-07 - BBC - Will Apple pick music's digital locks?
Author: Jonathan Fildes
Summary: Steve Jobs, the boss of Apple, has set out his stall on the future of the music industry. In an open letter on the Apple website, Mr Jobs argues that the copy protection software used to protect digital music downloads from piracy has not worked. ... many argue that any form of DRM harms consumers. "It locks consumers into specific products. It's anti-competitive and anti-consumer," said Becky Hogge, executive director of the digital advocacy organisation, the Open Rights Group. The European Commission agrees. It says the many different DRM systems should work together. Some member states, such as France, have already approved new laws that could force companies like Apple to share its digital technology with rivals.


2007-01-31 - British Computer Society - E-voting pilot schemes announced
Summary: The government has announced that it is to trial the use of e-voting systems at local government elections in May. ... However, the scheme has been criticised by digital rights organisation the Open Rights Group amid concerns over security. It also said that problems with e-voting in other countries, such as Italy and the Netherlands, should show the government that it is a problematic issue in terms of computer science.
2007-01-31 - ZDNet - Digital rights group slams e-voting
Author: David Meyer
Summary: Digital rights activists have attacked the UK government over its plan to trial e-voting in the upcoming local elections. According to the Open Rights Group (ORG), the technology "threatens the integrity of our elections". In a statement issued on Tuesday, the group claimed that e-voting "does not allow for meaningful vote audits and recounts", suggesting that it would make fraud easier to perpetrate. "E-voting is a black box," ORG's Jason Kitcat told ZDNet UK on Tuesday, explaining that "you can't see what the software [behind it] is doing" and suggesting that this secrecy was deliberate on the part of the companies selling the software to the government.
2007-01-30 - PC Pro - Open Rights Group opposes e-voting plans
Author: Simon Aughton
Summary: The Open Rights Group (ORG) has condemned the Government's decision to introduce e-voting in selected areas of the UK for the 2007 elections. The digital rights campaign group said that there are serious questions over the security, accuracy and reliability of the technology that will be used.
2007-01-30 - eGov Monitor - The Open Rights Group opposes e-voting pilots
Summary: Despite serious problems with e-voting in other countries, the UK will hold electronic voting pilots in selected local authorities during the May 2007 elections. e-voting is a technology that threatens the integrity of our elections. The Open Rights Group opposes its introduction into our democratic process.
2007-01-29 - Slashdot - British E-Voting Pilots Announced
Summary: The Department for Constitutional Affairs has announced it is going to trial Electronic voting ... The Open Rights Group (Think British EFF) have responded by saying 'E-voting threatens the integrity of our elections and we oppose its use in our democracy.'
2007-01-29 - Kable - e-Voting returns
Summary: The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) has announced electronic voting pilots for the May 2007 local authority elections ... The announcement attracted criticism from the civil liberties organisation Open Rights Group. It described the move as ill conceived and said it would undermine, rather than strengthen, the democratic process. "Such systems open the door to voter coercion and vote buying as well as potential electronic attack from anywhere in the world," it said in a statement. "They rely on commercial confidentiality, rather than explicit and accepted computer protocols, to maintain voter privacy. And they do not allow for meaningful vote audits and recounts."
2007-01-25 - The Register - e-voting to be stripped bare at UCL event
Author: John Oates
Summary: The Open Rights Group (ORG) and the Foundation for Information Policy Research are teaming up for events to raise awareness of electronic voting.
2007-01-024 - Boing Boing - Fighting e-voting in the UK and all of the EU
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: The same rotten, broken electronic voting machines that are breaking the US's electoral process are being imported to Europe. On February 6 and 8, the UK Open Rights Group is holding events on the dangers of electronic voting and ways to fight back
2007-01-17 - Radio 1 Newsbeat - IFPI's stance on DRM
Summary: A report on DRM on downloaded music interviewed Becky Hogge. The IFPI who represents the recording industry worldwide agreed that DRM was getting in the way of fair use.
2007-01-16 - vnunet - Evidence guides Gowers to strike the right balance on copyright
Author: Mark Chillingworth
Summary: "I think generally that the report makes some good recommendations and I am glad to see that making a private copy is now accepted," said Suw Charman of the Open Rights Group copyright campaign. "He doesn’t want to start again; instead, he wants to bring intellectual property into a new policy framework," Brindley said. "But I think the discussions are just beginning."