Join us on 17 February to learn how to protect your online privacy and security

Please join us at Birmingham Open Media on 17 February for a special workshop focused on helping you reclaim your online privacy and security.

At the session you’ll find out more about how companies and governments are tracking you online and why this is bad news for your human rights and puts you at greater risk of being a victime of online crime. More importantly, we’ll show you some simple, practical steps you can take to boost your online privacy and security without having to totally change the way you use the internet.

At the session you’ll also have the chance to find out the latest news about the government’s plans to greatly expand surveillance and hacking through the Investigatory Powers Bill (AKA the Snoopers’ Charter) and what you can do to stop it becoming law.

Don’t forget your laptop, tablet or smartphone

We want the workshop to be as practical as possible so please bring along your laptop, tablet and/or smartphone so that we can show you some great apps, browser extensions and other tips.

Sign up via our Meetup page

ORG Birmingham privacy and security meetup

As usual, you can find out more and RSVP for our events via our Meetup page

ORG Birmingham Meetup

Birmingham Open Media

A big thank you goes out to our hosts Birmingham Open Media (BOM), who have supported Open Rights Group Birmingham from day one. If you’re not familiar with the work they do, you can visit BOM Tuesdays to Saturdays between 10.30am and 5pm.

Keep in touch

You can keep in touch with all the latest developments by following us on Twitter @OpenRightsBrum.

See you on the 17th!

Francis

Open Rights Group Birmingham

 

 

 

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.

Just 3 Sleeps to go until the Open Rights Group Birmingham Launch on Wednesday!

Open Rights Group leaflets and stickers piled up on a table

With there being just 3 more sleeps to go until Open Rights Group Birmingham (ORG Birmingham) launches on Wednesday (if you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so from here), I wanted to share with you some interesting updates.

Here comes the merch

Open Rights Group leaflets and stickers piled up on a table
Open Rights Group leaflets and stickers piled up on a table

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the central team at ORG have kindly sent me what can only be described as a motherlode of merch. Should you be able to make our meetup on Wednesday you will be able to get your hands on some rather nifty looking ORG stickers and leaflets to help you spread our message on digital rights far and wide.  I hope you’re excited about the merch as I am.

Draft Agenda

Secondly, I had a good chat during the week with Lydia Snodin, ORG’s local groups coordinator. Lydia’s given me some tips  and generally boosted my confidence about hosting our first ever meet-up.

While our first meet-up is most definitely intended to be friendly, relaxed and informal, Lydia has recommended we work to a basic structure so that everyone gets a chance to contribute and we make the most of our time together.

Here’s my first attempt at an agenda. I’ve tried to structure our meetup so that the most important bits happen early on so that people who need to leave early can still contribute. As ever, your feedback is very much appreciated.

6-6.30: Arrival and registration/sign-up

6.30 – 6.45: Welcome people to ORG Birmingham. Explain reasons for organising meet-up. Thank people for getting involved.
6.45-7.00:’Lightning’ introductions. People have 1 minute to say who they are and why they came along to the meet-up.
7-7.30: What do people want from ORG Birmingham?

Encourage guest to suggest future meet-up topics, speakers and campaign activities.

Introduction to the Snoopers’ Charter and what it could mean for digital rights.

7.30-7.45: Agree date and topic of next meet-up.
7.45-8: Introduction to the Snoopers’ Charter
8-8.30. Group discussion about Snoopers’ Charter and possible ORG Birmingham responses to it.
8.30-9. More chat. Guests disperse.

Keep Yourselves Refreshed – BYOB policy

White and black cat sitting next to a cup of coffee
White and black cat sitting next to a cup of coffee

I am reliably informed our hosts for the evening, Birmingham Open Media (BOM), will be able to make us a cup of tea or coffee. Beyond that, they might struggle as we will be using the venue out of hours and access to facilities will be limited.

To keep things fun, I’ll be doing my best party host impression and will supply some snacks and soft drinks. If you’re thinking of coming it would be great if you could bring along some snacks and drinks. BOM are pretty relaxed about people bringing alcoholic drinks into the venue provided we are responsible. If you can stretch to bringing refreshments for you plus one more, we should have plenty of food and drink for everyone to enjoy.

Come Along to the 1st ever Open Rights Group Birmingham Meet-up

I am proud to announce Open Rights Group Birmingham will be holding its 1st ever meet-up in just over a week’s time, after work on Wednesday 8th July.

Full size image of poster advertising 1st ever meet-up of Open Rights Group Birmingham campaign group

Birmingham Open Media (BOM) have very kindly agreed to host our meet-up for free, which is fantastic. If you’re not familiar with their work, please do check them out.

The meet-up will be a relaxed, informal affair. It’s a chance for people with an interest in digital rights and open technology

to meet each other and figure out how we can work together to protect and promote digital rights in Birmingham and beyond.

By the end of the meet-up we should have a clearer idea of the issues we think Open Rights Group Birmingham should be focusing on and the next steps we will take to make progress on these issues.

Quite a few people have already expressed an interest in meeting up and forming an Open Rights Group Birmingham. It would be great if we could get as many people as possible along to the meet-up. I would be grateful if you could help spread the word by sharing this blog post and, if possible, printing and displaying a copy of the meet-up poster.

Admission is completely free but it would be helpful for planning purposes if you could let me know if you are thinking of coming. Francis Clarke. Email: clarke.francisg@gmail.com, Twitter: @francisclarke or Phone: 07749374339.

You can download a print quality version of the poster by clicking here.

ORG Birmingham local organiser, Francis Clarke