An entertaining and enlightening evening

Last night we were treated to a great talk by Richard King, who was in Manchester to discuss the internet filtering that is coming to everyone’s connections later this year.

He got started by introducing the wider Open Rights Group issues, and promising not to use PowerPoint, instead perching on a stool by the bar and the entertainment soon began when we cam up with a t-shirt idea – “think of the children + new technology = moral panic”

Not that we didn’t cover the serious issue of the day of course, with Richard pointing out that “now only one person in the house will decide the information everyone else in the house sees” – and I was surprised to discover that a lot of students now have their internet access provided by their landlord.

This lead to a brief discussion on the latest news reports – including that the USA is now recording 100% of the telephone calls of some unnamed country.
It turns out that if you happen to know, or were, under 18 in ’08 and had a Yahoo video account then there are some lawyers who’d like to speak to you about the way the UK government was secretly recording everything you did. Please get in touch if so.

A quick show of hands showed a majority of people had already encountered issues with incorrect blocking of sites, which is strange because Claire Perry described the idea of websites being blocked when they shouldn’t be as ‘a load of cock’.

Richard wound up be explaining how the Open Rights Group is tackling censorship with a system of probes to check reported sites on a variety of ISPs. The results will be public so you can judge your ISP against the others, though several people pointed out issues with ‘bad guys’ feeding URLs into the checking system.

This was handy, as Richard ended up telling us that if you want to help track UK web censorship or discuss these issues, you can do so on the project web site :
http://blocked.org.uk/
or of course by joining the Open Rights Group itself.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

ORG’s censorship monitoring project

Richard King, project manager for the ORG censorship monitoring project, is co-ordinating volunteers to find out the state of UK web censorship. They are building probes to let anyone find out if their favourite websites are blocked by filtering on major ISP and mobile networks.

As well as describing what the project is doing he will let you know how you can help – from coding to running a Raspberry Pi with Ooni probe to test blocks, or installing an Android app to test websites as you walk around town.

The event is free as always, and if you’d like to help us manage numbers by signing up in advance at http://www.meetup.com/ORG-Manchester/events/169178632/ that would be great, but not required.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Round of applause for medical privacy talk

2014-02-25 19.10.10On Tuesday Phil Booth from http://medconfidential.org gave an extremely engrossing and enjoyable talk about the government’s care.data plan.

At the core of the talk was explaining how the plan that doesn’t change anything is actually a whole new mess of interconnected agencies, some of which have competing aims.

He was also able to give important practical advice which we’ll be repeating at our next event – a Mass Opt Out where we’ll be on hand to help you keep you and your children safe by preventing the transfer of your (un-anonymised !) medical records to a government department with a poor track record of treating them with the respect they deserve. Hope to see you there !

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Why you should opt out of medical uploads

Come to our upcoming talk on Tuesday February 25th, where Phil Booth will be explaining the new threats to your personal medical data. It’s at Friends Meeting House in central Manchester at 7pm.

Now that your medical data is being prepared to be uploaded, the new “care.data” scheme is hitting the headlines. Changes to how your medical data is handled are happening now.

Medical data that was previously under the control of your GP is going to be uploaded to a central database called care.data and shared with other organisations for research and analysis. Nothing directly of benefit: and with ill-defined ways to control the risks.

Worse still, the government has insisted people must explicitly opt out, rather than opt in, and have provided unclear, unaddressed leaflets sent as junk mail to households that only vaguely describe how to opt out.

Phil Booth from http://medconfidential.org will be on hand to answer all your questions.

Please RSVP and spread the word : http://www.meetup.com/ORG-Manchester/events/164318842/

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Another Successful Cryptoparty

2014-01-28 17.41.25-1On Thursday night, as part of Manchester’s week long free software festival, Manchester Open Rights Group were helping to run a CryptoParty.

This was the second time this type of event had been run, and built strongly on the positive steps we’d taken last year.

 

2014-02-06 18.39.54This time around there was a much greater mix of things people wanted to learn how to use, so after a brief talk (and our now famous padlock game !) we split up into groups who learnt everything from the basics of encrypted email, to using encrypted private chats over Google Talk, and on to booting Macs with USB-based secure operating systems

Posted in General | 2 Comments

Manchester ORG hosts second Crypto Party – 6th Feb

7.00pm Thursday 6th Febuary
Madlab, 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester, M4 1HN.
You can RSVP via our meetup page.

Cryptoparties provide a great way for anyone to learn how to install and use encryption technology and other tips to keep you anonymous online. Tech facilitators will be there to help you with encryption of email, live chat and how to browse the web without being tracked. All are welcome to come learn and share skills in a fun environment.

This event is part of the Manchester Free Software festival and a growing wave of international Cryptoparties. It is organised by Manchester ORG a local pod of the Open Rights Group the UK based organisation fighting for digital rights.

2013-12-07 13.58.28_cropOur last event had a great turn out, good sharing of information and bespoke free cakes! You can read more about it in this post.

Please help us to spread the word on Twitter, email / lists and other networks. Thanks!

@ORGManchester http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/manchester-free-software-festival-tickets-10177371793 … Tickets for Free Software Festival in Manchester are now available, including CryptoParty 2.0 event!

Cryptoparties are open to everyone from complete beginners to technical experts. Activists, lawyers, journalists, doctors, small businessmen and the general public will come together to understand how to protect their documents, emails and passwords from being accessed.

The event will be held on Thursday 6th Febuary between 7.00pm-9pm at a venue to be confirmed (possibly – Madlab, 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester, M4 1HN). You can RSVP via our meetup page.

crypto_p

Technical Details

Specifically we’ll look at technology such as the Tor network (to browse the internet anonymously) , public key encryption PGP/GPG (to send encrypted email), and OTR (Off The Record messaging for encrypted live chat).

Your input is very welcome. To offer help and chat to us please do so on the Manchester ORG email list.

 

 

Posted in cryptoparty, digital rights, event | Leave a comment

Manchester CryptoParty success

2013-12-07 14.40.072013-12-07 09.18.26Over the weekend I really enjoyed helping to run Manchester’s first CryptoParty. We were able to teach around 20 people how to send secure email between themselves, as well as explain a bit about how the science of encryption helps keep you safe online. There were also some fun games involving giant postcards and padlocks, if you were there you’ll know how much fun that was !

2013-12-07 13.58.28_cropBut it wasn’t all just good privacy preserving, security giving technology, we were lucky enough to have some very special cakes made for us as well that we gave away to everyone who came, along with loads of stickers and books. It’s always nice to have a little something to take away, or to spot our stickers on someone else’s laptop.

Everyone I spoke to agreed it was useful as well as fun, so I really look forward to the next event in the new year – see you there !

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Help get Manchester CryptoParty started

Recently we announced a great event in Manchester – a cryptoparty.

We would very much like to produce some flyers and other promotional material – and this is where you can help out by donating a small amount using the following button:

donate with paypal

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Manchester CryptoParty with FSFE

Edward Snowden revelations of mass spying programmes such as PRISM and Tempora show that something needs to be done to protect our private online activities from the prying eyes of GCHQ and the NSA. There’s currently a great deal of interest surrounding these issues and as a result people are seeking to find tools which will help them protect and secure their email, instant messages and web browsing.

This can be done, to an extent, through the use of encryption technology, so on 7th December, we’ll be teaming up with Free Software Foundation Europe to organise a Cryptoparty in Manchester.

Cryptoparties provide a great way for anyone to learn how to install and use encryption technology and we’ll have technical experts present on the day to help you with encryption programs such as GPG, OTR and Tor. Cryptoparties are open to everyone from complete beginners to technical experts. Activists, lawyers, journalists, doctors, small businessmen and the general public will come together to understand how to protect their documents, emails and passwords from being accessed.

The event will be held on Saturday 7th December between 1.30pm-6pm at Madlab, 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester, M4 1HN. You can RSVP via our meetup page here.

Updates on the event can also be found here.

We would very much like to produce some flyers and other promotional material – and this is where you can help out by donating a small amount using the following button:

donate with paypal

So as Cryptoparty say – let’s party like it’s 31st December 1983!

Posted in event, General | Leave a comment

Rally for Freedoms and Liberties

 

SnowdenManchesterMural-225x300To coincide with the Conservative Party conference Manchester Open Right Group will be taking part in a rally for privacy and a protest against mass surveillance.

If you are on MeetUp then there is an event here  -http://www.meetup.com/ORG-Manchester/events/141759552/

When all the media and politicians are in town this is a great chance to demonstrate that people care about Snowden’s revelations, and put some pressure on them to end the surveillance state.

Event details: A rally in Greengate Square at 11am followed by a march down Deansgate at 12 midday. ORG’s Executive Director Jim Killock will be speaking at the pre-march rally.

The march has been organised by the Pirate Party UK and their details on the event can be found here: https://manchester.pirateparty.org.uk/ai1ec_event/rally-for-freedoms-and-liberties-tbc/?instance_id=

Posted in digital rights, event, General | Leave a comment