The Home Office and its antidemocratic surveillance plans

I just published on Medium a letter I sent last night to my MP about DRIP, the “emergency” surveillance measures being rushed through Parliament this week.

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Take action now: Write to your MP or phone them on 020 7219 3000.


Campaign resources on privacy and surveillance (mainly)

So I’ve been clearing out my filing cabinet, which I’ve barely even opened in the four years we’ve been living in Woking. This means I’ve been reminded of a bunch of papers and references I compiled for campaigning — mainly against ID cards. Now I don’t need all of these in hardcopy, so I’m looking them all up electronically. As I wanted to have them as reference, I figure that other people might also like the references, so why not put together a blogpost at the same time. Continue reading

BBC and press ignore massive demonstration against austerity in London

“Left-wing bias”.

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UK today!)

If you were in the centre of London today you might have noticed 50,000 people taking part in a massive march against the government’s austerity policies:

no more austerity photo from People’s Assembly

If you did notice, you’re doing better than most of the UK press who seem to have entirely missed it.

It seems the BBC are capable of tracking down a single Scot in Brazil who cheered a goal against England but fail to notice 50,000 demonstrating on their doorstep.


Related articles by Tom Pride:

I still remember when firefighters were heroes. Now we just ignore them.

Ian Hislop comes out on BBC Question Time

Government ministers announce plan to deter immigrants to UK by making it shit

Scientists discover dim stars orbitting massive black hole at heart of BBC


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My writing on Medium

I’ve written a couple of pieces on Medium and it’s only just occurred to me that I should have shared them here.

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As an aside, it must be said I love how the embed codes show up here. On, we just have to paste a Medium link and it shows up like above; instructions on how to do that elsewhere can be found here:

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The government’s lobbying bill

So I’ve written to my MP (Jonathan Lord: Con, Woking) about the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, due for Second Reading in the House of Commons tomorrow.

There are three main sections to this bill — one to create a register of lobbyists, a second to regulate non-party spending in the 12 months preceding a General Election and a third to tighten the regulations around trades unions. The second part of this bill is widely considered to offer an existential threat to British democracy; I also have concerns around this third part, but my MP is a Tory and I know which battles are worth fighting.

The text of my letter (edited slightly to read better as hypertext) to Mr Lord follows:
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ORGcon 2013

ORGcon 2013 logo So it was ORGcon 2013 a few weekends ago. There will be a couple of posts about the day, because there were some aspects of the day I need to comment on separately, without any hint of my ORG Board Member hat on, but this post I shall restrict to discussing the day itself.

The tone of the day was helpfully set by the revelations about the NSA’s Prism programme:

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Geekdom — a safe space for women?

This is the first of two posts about ORGcon; a second post will discuss the talks of the day itself. I need to make it explicitly clear that I am writing this post in a personal capacity and not in my rôle as a board director of the Open Rights Group. My comments here are not representative of or endorsed by ORG.

Edit 2013-06-20: ORG have today published the videos of the two keynote talks.

XKCD #385: How it Works

XKCD #385: How it Works

In the afternoon at ORGcon, the first session I went to was an excellent panel discussion between media lawyer David Allen Green, Lord Richard Allen, director of policy at Facebook, Robert Sharp, head of campaigns and comms at English PEN, and media lawyer Victoria McEvedy, chaired by Dr Alison Powell of the LSE. The title was “The right to be offensive: Free speech online in the UK” and it covered “how our laws are undermining free speech”. It was an awesome session and I recommend you look it up once ORG get the video online. One of the topics it touched upon was how hate speech directed at minority groups is an effective means of silencing those groups; David mentioned the email sent to Louise Mensch, threatening her children, for example.

I then chaired a session of rapid-fire talks, including one by my friend and fellow ORG board-member Mili Popova, titled When worlds collide, about “the grey areas, where we can see both sides of the argument” between digital rights and anti-censorship, in particular talking about online harassment and violence against women.

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