Open Rights Group (ORG) is a fast-growing NGO focused on raising awareness of issues such as privacy, identity, data protection, access to knowledge and copyright reform. We were founded in 2005 by a donation and pledge from 1000 members, and are still funded largely by our members.
What we do
There are a wide number of digital rights issues in the UK, ranging from privacy concerns brought up by biometric passports and vehicle tracking systems to free speech issues surrounding overly restrictive copyright law to the threat to our right to private life and correspondence from proposed data retention legislation. In response to these issues, and the lack of a lobbying body to deal with them, the Open Rights Group was established in 2005 to raise awareness of digital rights abuses and preserve and extend traditional civil liberties in the digital world.
Our activities are divided into four main areas;
- Lobbying the government, to protect digital rights and try and stop or mitigate legislation which infringes on them;
- Raising public awareness of digital rights issues;
- Engaging with and capitalising on Britain's open source and copyleft communities;
- Helping journalists find expert voices and alternative sources to prevent a pro-industry slant in reporting.
Who we are
Our activities include organising campaigns, lobbying government, and helping journalists find experts and alternative voices for stories.
At the moment the media rely very heavily on press releases from industry and government which results in biased or malformed reporting on digital rights issues. We hope to redress the balance by helping journalists more fully understand the issues and connect with the right experts who can explain alternative positions. We will be working alongside organisations such as NO2ID and the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), who are already making good progress in the digital rights arena, to raise awareness of these very important issues in the media.
We will also be organising volunteer-led campaigns and creating a strong grassroots community, including activists, technical experts and lawyers, who can exchange expertise and provide support to the community at large.
We will initially be concentrating our efforts on Home Secretary Charles Clarke’s proposed draft EU framework on data retention for ISPs and telecommunications companies. We believe that the proposal is not only both unnecessary and unworkable, but that it may also contravene the European Convention on Human Rights.