About Manchester ORG

Digital rights activists in Manchester

Set up to promote and protect rights to free speech, privacy and freedom of information in the internet era against “governments and vested interests”, the group is encouraging local branches to set up and take action across the country.

Organisers say they wish to campaign against internet censorship, “snooper’s charter” government powers to track online communications, and restrictions on free movement of information.

They also push for freeing up access to government data, such as on local council services.

Open Rights Group (ORG) activist Javier Ruiz said, “As a grassroots digital rights organisation we want our activists to meet each other and discuss their own priorities. A lot of digital policy is made in London – the famous Westminster bubble – and we want people in other areas to have a say as well.

“We hope our local groups find their own local issues, dealing for example with surveillance or local access to data, but that they also help contribute to national changes. We are currently campaigning against the Snooper’s Charter and Manchester activists will help get the message to the Labour Party conference next month.”

A local campaigner, Mick, said “the issues addressed by ORG are so vital and timely that it would be great to increase the supporter base beyond the core group of communication and technology enthusiasts to include the wider public.

“It would also be great to draw on the experience of campaigners as not only do they have invaluable skills but legislation like the Communication Data Bill, a.k.a. Snooper’s Charter, directly effects their ability to organise securely using the Internet and mobile phones.”

Richard Goulding