Fortunately, we do. In the USA, there's the Electronic Frontier Foundation, formed in 1990 by John Gilmore, John Perry Barlow and Mitch Kapor. In the UK, we have the much more recently-formed Open Rights Group, created in 2005 by 1000 people pledging to provide funds. Both organisations provide rational, balanced yet fearless views on digital rights issues, speaking truth to power, engaging legislators and campaigning against specific injustices.
Tomorrow in London is the Open Rights Group's annual conference, ORGCon 2013 where EFF founder John Perry Barlow will be speaking about "The Freedom To Know" and a broad range of speakers will present the full spectrum of topics about digital rights in the UK. I'm a director of ORG, but I would have attended the conference anyway - it's too good to miss!
The event is being held at the IET at Savoy Place, just at the end of Waterloo Bridge. Here's where I plan to be during the day. There's loads more on the agenda, these are just my picks:
- At 10am, I'll attend the keynote by Tim Wu, who popularised the concept of "network neutrality" back in 2003.
- At 11am, there's a panel featuring Julian Huppert MP and other experts explaining the current state of the Snoopers' Charter.
- At noon, William Heath will lead a panel that includes Deputy Information Commissioner David Smith to explain why we should care about the Data Protection Regulation.
- After lunch, at 2pm I'm unsure whether to go to the panel with the New Statesman's David Allen Green on free speech online, or the talk about how to wiretap the cloud by Casper Bowden.
- At 3:30pm, I'll be in one of the 'rapid fire talks' tracks, speaking about the remaking of the Open Source Initiative.
- At 4:30pm I'll go to hear John Perry Barlow close the conference.
- Afterwards, there's a huge pizza party, but you'll need to buy a ticket to hear about that!