The Open Rights Group (ORG) is nominally two years old, and to mark the occasion, they have published a report (pdf) into their activities to date. Others have commented liberally on the organisation’s remarkable success over the past 24 months. I want to add my voice in congratulation and say a few words about what ORG means to me.
Ever since humans started living in groups, specialisation has been what sets us apart from other animals. Since we developed the skill of communication it has been possible for us to co-operate.
As a result, over the millenia, human society has evolved into an incredibly complex fabric of interdependencies, from which we all benefit. If you need a house, you don’t have to build one yourself any more. If you need food, you can get a farmer to grow it for you. If you’re concerned about being disenfranchised by an ill-conceived electronic voting system, you just call in the experts.
I pay specialists to provide me with food, shelter, transport, clothing, power, protection, healthcare, education and entertainment. Digital rights might be more abstract, but they’re increasingly important to our daily lives.
I support ORG because I want to continue being able to call in the experts when the music industry wants to monopolise my cultural heritage; when the Government wants to take control of my identity; when poor implementations of new technology threaten my privacy; or when bad laws threaten innocent people with criminal sanctions. I don’t have time to respond to public consultations, write to ministers, organise campaigns or make sure digital rights issues are properly covered in the media – but ORG does.
If you care about any of these issues, your voice can be amplified a thousandfold through the Open Rights Group. Don’t go it alone. Give ORG your money or your time (I do both, when I can) and let the power of specialisation work its magic.
Updated 19/03/15 to fix dead links.