National Pupil Database event report

Last weeks highly entertaining talk was full of tales of how the Department of Education  misleads on answering questions about it’s plans for pupil data, such as by failing to make clear that the collection of nationality information is entirely optional!

We learnt of the scale of the problem, with over 20 million kids involved, and anyone under the age of around 36 being on the database too.

This includes things like exclusion records as well exam results. There are obvious issues with using exclusion records to blindly make decisions; children take the rap for others – but now have unknowingly created a black mark on their employment record !

There was a good discussion of how both DefendDigitalMe and Open Rights Group share some of the same issues with campaigning; for instance there have been numerous main stream press articles, but no one in the audience had seen any of them!

DefendDigitalMe’s next step is going to be a campaign for people to make Subject Access Requests to see what is really happening – and there were some funny stories from the speaker about when she found out she has someone in the DfE who regularly reports on her tweets !

If you have any questions, they also have an excellent National Pupil Database FAQ.

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National Pupil Database and census

We’re delighted to have DefendDigitalMe talking about the National Pupil Database and child census projects on March 1st.

For more details, please head over to

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Get Data Smart : Cryptoparty

We’ll be hosting a Cryptoparty event as part of the council’s Get Data Smart day on March 17th.

You can register and

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Festival of Social Science : Digital activism

This event is a great opportunity to discover how new technologies are changing our communities. With talks from local campaign groups, technologists and academics, this event will give you the chance to engage with pertinent issues: How is technology changing the ways we live and work? Which new innovations are soon to transform our communities? In what ways can new technology empower our communities?

Come to ‘Digital Activism’ to find out more!
The event is on Friday, November 11, 2016 from 10AM to 4PM

Please book directly via the festival site’s Eventbrite page :

More information is on the festival site :

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Three showings of tense Orwellian thriller about the surveillance society

On the 14th, 15th and 16th there is an award-winning, tense Orwellian
thriller about the surveillance society playing in Manchester.

More details and tickets can be found at

I will also be having a Q+A session after the Friday show if you’d like to attend that
too. Please purchase a ticket from

and I’ll see you there !

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Movie night and debate

We will be showing the short (20 minutes) film ‘The
Haystack’ as an introduction to a wider debate about current events that
effect you both on and off line.

The trailer for the film is here :

On our panel for the night will be

• Gary Herman from the National Union of Journalists
• Gary Hough from local ISP Zen Internet
• Loz Kaye from Open Intelligence

Plus special guests!

It’d be great to say you are coming on:
and we’ll see you on the 9th, at 1830 in MadLab.

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Interview with Mancunian Matters

ORG Manchester organiser Tom was recently interviewed by Mancunian Matters

The proposed legislation will also introduce a ‘double-lock’ on ministerial approval of interception warrants, with a new panel of seven judicial commissioners.

But the ‘double-lock’ will not apply in ‘urgent cases’ and security services will be able to spy on the content of people’s conversations and messages without a court-approved warrant.

Read the whole article here and if this fires you up to talk to your MP about it, why not come along to our next event on the 16th December :

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Speaking to your MP : results and feedback

Last time we were talking about ways to explain your concerns to people like your local MP. For the final event of the year we want to get your feedback on how that worked out – did you manage to speak to your MP (how could it be made easier ?) and if you did manage it, how did it go.

It’s on Wednesday, December 16 at 6:30 PM at the MMu’s new Birley campus, room BR G.16.

We’re trying a new venue as well, so please check the event’s detail pages on for details, or to make a small donation even if you can’t attend so we can continue to offer these events in future.

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Snooper Charter Strikes Back event success

Jim Killock talkingEarlier in the week we had the pleasure of entraining Jim Killock, ORG’s executive director, ahead of a workshop on talking you MP about intrusive surveillance.

Continue reading

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Episode V: The Snooper’s Charter Strikes Back!

After the huge success of a packed out hustings the Open Rights Group have two
great events in one fantastic evening for our October Manchester Meetup.
Please spread the word.

A talk AND workshop about fighting the Snoopers’ Charter! Both are free to
attend, donations on the night are welcome.

Both events are on the evening of October 5th, in MadLab, Manchester. More details are on MeetUp.

6.30 to 7.30pm
Talk + Q&A: Open Rights Group’s Executive Director Jim Killock – ‘Fighting the
Snoopers’ Charter’

Break: 7.30 to 7.45pm

7.45 to 9.00pm
Workshop: Talking About Surveillance
We’ll be running a workshop on how you can talk to your MP.

You’ll come away from the workshop ready to talk to anyone about surveillance!

Please do let us know if you will be there, it makes our roles as organisers
much easier to know how many to expect. You can do this either on MeetUp or just by emailing
manchester -at- openrightsgroup -full stop- org

You are welcome just to turn up on the night of course, so see you there !

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