Open Rights Group Birmingham Established to Promote Digital Rights in Birmingham and Beyond

Male and female digital rights supporters sit around a table discussing digital rights at the launch event of Open Rights Group Birmingham, held at Birmingham Open Media

Thank you to everyone who joined us at Birmingham Open Media on Wednesday for the Open Rights Group Birmingham launch event.

Bringing people together (thanks to the power of crisps)

Over a fine(ish) selection of crisps and drinks, group organiser Francis Clarke explained why he had been motivated to establish Open Rights Group Birmingham to bring together people who are passionate about human rights and digital technology and want want to make a practical difference in the world.

The launch brought together people from different backgrounds and interests. Thanks to Birmingham Open Media’s support, artists were well-represented, as were people from Birmingham’s technology and community sectors. It was also great to see a positive gender balance, with an equal number of men and women contributing to the discussion.

After informal discussions about why it is important for all of us that  people’s rights are valued online as well as offline, the discussion shifted to what practical action members of Open Rights Group Birmingham can take to raise public awareness of threats to digital rights – from mass surveillance to restrictive business practices – and to encourage people to make full use of the potential of open technology.

Regular meetups and creative campaigning

Sandwich board outside Birmingham Open Media advertising the Open Right Group Birmingham launch
I assure you we are open: a sandwich board outside Birmingham Open Media advertising the Open Right Group Birmingham launch

Moving forward, we will be holding regular FREE meet-ups in Birmingham for people to learn more about digital rights and open technology. We will be aiming to bring in guest speakers and screen interesting documentaries.

We have also started to think about what else we can do to convey the importance of digital rights to a more general audience. It’s still early days but we’re hoping to hold a series of events in October, to coincide with Democracy Week.

Open Rights Group Birmingham founder, Francis Clarke, said:

“As digital technology becomes central to our everyday lives, people are increasingly recognising the importance of ensuring human rights are valued the same online as offline. Open Rights Group Birmingham will work hard to protect digital rights in Birmingham and beyond and to promote an open, transparent society.”

Open Rights Group Birmingham is part of the UK-based campaigning organisation, Open Rights Group (ORG). Made up over 3,000 members, ORG works on issues ranging from mass surveillance, to copyright, censorship, data protection and open data and privacy.

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