Wednesday, 8 February 2006

Open Rights Group: killing TV, and ID cards

The speeches were excellent at last night's second meeting of the Open Rights Group, the digital rights campaigning group whose executive director, Suw Charman, is pictured below with Cory Doctorow (formerly of the EFF). Cory spoke on planned digital TV restrictions. Phil Booth of No2ID, pictured below, spoke on ID cards and the forthcoming vote on the bill in the House of Commons next Monday. The post-speech discussions were very lively too, in both cases, so I found it much more interesting than the first ORG meeting, which was however meant to serve a different purpose I think.

Just click the Delicious Playtagger icon under each picture to listen to the speech, or the link text to download the MP3 (NB the speeches were about 20 minutes' long each so the files are quite big and will take quite a while to open even with Playtagger). Apologies for missing the first few seconds of each speech and some initial rustlings. The quality isn't the best as they were recorded from a distance using my multi-purpose Nokia 7710 smartphone, with which I took the photos too, but you can hear them pretty well. I didn't record the discussions for reasons of questioner (in)audibility, space and battery life. (How to use Delicious Playtagger to play MP3s from your own blog.)

Digital TV in Europe: CPCM

Cory's speech

Cory spoke on plans by the DVB (Digital Video Broadcasters' Forum) involving CPCM (copy protection content management), a proposed form of digital rights management that will seriously restrict digital TV in Europe. Details are in his clear and witty speech, well worth a listen. I'll say no more on that now, the ID cards issue (see below) is more urgent, and Cory says it all.

Identity cards in the UK: write to your MP now!

Phil's speech

The ID cards bill goes back to the House of Commons on Monday 13 February 2006. Just a few more votes against could defeat it (I've already posted at various times about the downsides of these proposals so yes, as you'll be able to tell, I'm very anti).

Do consider taking a moment to write to your MP this week to urge them to vote against it - info on your MP, how they voted on this before and how to contact them is on the No2ID MPs page (best viewed in Firefox as the menu obscures part of that page in Internet Explorer). Even a few people emailing them may be enough to sway their vote.

There's a lot more on ID cards on the No2ID site and in Phil's speech, particularly on the potential introduction of a surveillance state - very scary stuff. And if you don't think it affects you personally then, as Phil says, consider this: why do you have net curtains? Would you be happy for the government to take them away forever (and allow others to peer in)? This is worse, a lot worse. It'll make identity theft easier, not harder, just from a common sense point of view (lots of your personal data, stored in one easy place for criminals to get at the database via the Net or simply through one of the government employees who will be able to access your info - you think of those hundreds of thousands of people not one of them could ever be bribed or persuaded?)

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kirk said...

I like Cory's "Elmer's" t-shirt. I wonder where he got it?

Improbulus said...

Dunno Kirk, why don't you ask him?! So is that what you want for Xmas, an Elmer T shirt? Your needs are clearly modest...

John said...

Salients points, well made, as always.

Improbulus said...

Cheers John.