[UKUUG-Announce] [Fwd: Update on pledge - 'create a standing order of 5 pounds per month to support an organisation that will campaign for digital rights in the UK' at PledgeBank.com]

Ray Miller ray.miller at ukuug.org
Mon Nov 28 20:46:56 GMT 2005

-------- Forwarded Message --------
From: Danny O'Brien <danny at spesh.com>
Subject: Update on pledge - 'create a standing order of 5 pounds per month to support an organisation that will campaign for digital rights in the UK' at PledgeBank.com
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 18:55:43 +0000


 o Thirty-Four In Twenty-Four
 o Open Rights Meeting Tuesday
 o Music Industry Hijacks Terror Legislation


>>> Thirty-Four In Twenty-Four

We're less than forty pledges away from the point where the Open Rights
Group officially launches; and co-incidentally, just a day away from
our first networking meeting to let members meet with activists and
sketch out the UK digital rights landscape. It'd give the fledgling ORG
the greatest of pushes to synchronise the two events -- and we thought
you might be able to help.

If you know anyone who is concerned about any of our issues - the
overreach of copyright, the abuse of technology to invade privacy, the
protection of free speech, and the protection of open knowledge
(including open source, and public access to government information),
please mail them a link to our pledge, and encourage them to join you.
Here's a sample mail you can cut and paste (or use your own words):

   A while back, I signed this pledge to start a digital rights group
in the UK. Now they're inches away from reaching the 1000 they need to
launch.  There's more info on the plan here:

   And they've got an open meeting on Tuesday (see
http://www.openrightsgroup.org/2005/11/16/ )

   Would you be up for pledging a fiver a month to get a British voice
in the fight to use technology to defend civil liberties? You can join
me in signing the pledge here: http://www.pledgebank.org/rights

>>> Open Rights Meeting Tuesday

The emergence of new communications technologies has radically changed
the civil rights landscape in our society. Privacy, intellectual
property, and access to knowledge are just some of the areas where
digital rights are being eroded by government and big business.

The Open Rights Group (ORG) would like to invite you to an evening of
digital rights discussion, networking and wine at 01Zero-One Hopkins
Street on Tuesday 29 November at 6pm to debate these issues.

This inaugural ORG event will begin with a short presentation by
special guest speaker Jonathan Zittrain, Chair in Internet Governance
and Regulation at Oxford University. Lloyd Davis from Perfect Path will
then moderate an open discussion, asking: Which issues are a priority
for you? And where would coalitions strengthen your hand? There'll also
be plenty of time to meet and talk with fellow organisers and

To reserve your place, please email events at openrightsgroup.org now, or
just turn up on the night. 

This free event is open to digital rights campaigners, grassroots
activists, the press and the general public, so please do forward this
email to anyone you think may be interested.

Where: 01Zero-One Hopkins Street (corner of Peter Street), Soho,
London, W1F 0HS
When: Tuesday 29 November, 6pm - 9pm
Guest Speaker: Jonathan Zittrain, Chair in Internet Governance and
Regulation, Oxford University; Co-Founder, Berkman Center for Internet
& Society
RSVP: events at openrightsgroup.org
Map: http://www.01zero-one.co.uk/map.htm

This event is presented with the support of 01Zero-One's InSync

>>> Music Industry Hijacks Terror Legislation

In a letter to all MEPs today, music industry body the Creative and
Media Business Alliance (CMBA) lobbied to co-opt the EU Data Retention
legislation currently being debated by the European Parliament.

The newly-formed UK digital rights organisation the Open Rights Group
joined with other civil liberties groups across Europe to condemn this
lobbying against human rights, and called on the Alliance's members -
which include Sony BMG, Warner Music, Disney, and EMI - to retract
their demands.

The Data Retention draft framework was originally proposed by the UK,
Sweden, Ireland and France for "the prevention, investigation,
detection and prosecution of serious criminal offences such as
terrorism and organised crime" by forcing telecommunications and
internet service providers to retain 'traffic data' - information about
your telephone calls and web browsing activities.

The CMBA today demanded that this data be made available for the
prosecution of any crime, such as copyright infringement, and not just
serious organised crime and terrorism. British MEP Bill Newton Dunn has
already suggested an amendment to widen the scope of the legislation in
this way.

Taken with the upcoming IPRED2 legislation which creates new,
Europe-wide criminal offences for intellectual property infringement,
this would let the music industry pursue prosecutions through the
criminal court entirely at the cost of the taxpayer. 

Both the Data Retention and IPRED2 directives are being "fast-tracked"
through the EU by short-circuiting normal legislative processes and
allowing for only one reading in the European Parliament, instead of
the normal two.

Sources from within the Parliamentary system indicate that some MEPs
are unaware that the usual democratic process is being bypassed.
Because of the tight timetable, MEPs will be put in the difficult
position of having only a couple of days to assess the Data Retention
proposal before the final vote on 13 December.

"The passing of the Data Retention directive would be a disaster not
just for civil liberties and human rights in Europe", said Open Rights
Group director Suw Charman,  "it would also put a substantial financial
burden on telcos and ISPs which would be passed on to the consumer
either in the form of raised bills or through government subsidies
funded by the taxpayer."

If the CMBA is successful, the situation will be exacerbated by an
increased number of demands for access to the retained data as more
cases are to court by the music and IP industries. If British record
labels set up prosecution production lines like their American
counterparts, the system could crumble under the strain, hampering any
reasonable and legitimate enquiries into genuine terrorist or serious
crime activity.

Civil liberties groups such as Privacy International and European
Digital Rights (EDRi) have been campaigning against data retention. Ian
Brown, of the Open Rights Group, said:

"The British government claimed that Data Retention was essential in
the fight against terrorism and serious crime, but it has now become
clear that groups with commercial interests have their eye on the same
data. Charles Clarke cannot continue to pretend that this legislation
has been drafted purely for reasons of national security."

Gus Hosein, Senior Fellow at Privacy International, said: 

"The EU has been claiming that data retention was some urgent policy
response to terrorist attacks.	But they are carefully drafting this
legislation to ensure that it can be used for all purposes under the
sun. Ironically, the EU seems to be going at it alone: even the U.S.
Bush Administration is not proposing such a ludicrous policy, despite
the strong lobbying by Hollywood."

Sjoera Nas, Board Member of EDRi and Co-Director of Bits of Freedom,
this afternoon presented a petition against Data Retention to MEPs: 

"Tomorrow morning there is a crucial vote on Data Retention by the LIBE
Committee. We have just given a petition with 58,000 signatures to the
Chairman of the Committee, and to MEPs from the Green Party, the
Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats. We hope that it will be
tabled at the LIBE meeting tomorrow, to point out that 58,000 Europeans
have protested against Data Retention. 

"Last minute negotiations with representatives of the European Council
have lead to what we feared the worst - a draconian directive that
flies in the face of our recommendations. We can only hope that the
European Parliament will come to its senses and realise that they
cannot turn Europe into a surveillance society overnight without
throwing away all human rights."

Are you doing something that defends or extends digital rights? Want
more people to know about it? Worried about an issue that no-one has
spotted yet?  Mail info at openrightsgroup.org with details. It's our job
to tout you to the skies.
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