Friday, February 10, 2006

Digital Rights Ireland is looking for your support

On the 6th December, Digital Rights Ireland formally launched. Our stated mission is to protect civil, legal and human rights in a digital age.

Now we're asking people who share that aim to help us out by pledging their money to DRI. If you're in a hurry and don't need to know more, here's where you can sign up:

Since our launch, and without funding, we've managed to do the following;

Focus attention on data retention, by lobbying, use of parliamentary questions and encouraging media scrutiny of the European Parliament's vote to bring in a Data Retention Directive.

We've established ourselves as a point of contact for the media on digital rights issues. This is important, as editors are much more likely to run a story where they are able to present two competing views to their audiences. We've raised the profile of these issues across the entire range of media, including the Pat Kenny show, Newstalk FM, the Irish Times, Six One News, 2FM, Metro Ireland, the Star on Sunday, various local stations and (of course) internet news outlets such as The Register.

We have intervened in the filesharing debate to speak up for the privacy rights of innocent parties. We have also attempted, with some limited success, to inform the courts of relevant precedent.

We've started producing reliable, readable, guides to users' rights. So far, we have pamphlets on SMS Spam and Online Libel completed. More are in the works.

We have begun to introduce DRI to the other players involved in rights protection. We've met with the Data Protection Commissioner and with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, and have been in contact with the Human Rights Commission. We've made a formal submission to the European Commission on Irish privacy laws.

We've also established DRI as Ireland's point of contact internationally in the digital rights sphere. We've joined EDRI , and have close relations with the Open Rights Group in the UK. We have also established informal links with other groups, such as the EFF, Liberty and Privacy International.

At the same time, we're working away behind the scenes on researching some of the issues which we expect to have to tackle in the months to come, such as the planned DNA Database and the proposals to introduce ID cards in Ireland.

Not a bad record for a three month old voluntary organisation working on a shoestring.

However, we're now reaching the limits of what we can do with no euro and no cent behind us. With your support, we could launch a flotilla of Freedom of Information requests, seeking information in targeted areas. We could raise awareness of digital rights issues in the professional spheres with a public conference. We could ship a representative to Brussels for crucial votes, to lobby our MEPs face to face. We could even pay for tea and coffee at our press conferences.

And, if needs be, we would be in a position to consider the possibility of seeking to block unconstitutional measures through the high-stakes gambles of the courts, as other advocacy groups regularly do.

Our suggested subscription rate is €10 per month. That is the cost of 2 pints. If we get 100 members willing to pledge that much to us, we will have a solid income base to work from.

We also have a concession membership of €5 a month. We aren't going to be checking IDs or anything like that - if you don't think you can afford to forgo both pints every month, then we'll happily spare you the effort of drinking one of them.

We have both a Paypal subscription option and our bank details for standing orders. Or if you like, you can bung us your full year's subscription in a single lump sum. And if you're not sure where you'll be for the next year, but know you'd like to send us something, we'd be most grateful.

Mechanics: Where does the money go? Money pledged to DRI will go to a bank account owned by Digital Rights Ireland Limited, a company limited by guarantee, registered with the Companies Registration Office in Dublin. As such, annual accounts will be filed for the company, which will be publicly available.

Who are Digital Rights Ireland Limited? Our Directors are listed here with links to their personal sites. Full details can be inspected via the Companies Registration Office.

[Cross-posted from]

1 comment:

  1. Our suggested subscription rate is €10 per month. That is the cost of 2 pints.

    If I didn't already know both yourself and you colleagues to be the very soul of integrity, I'd worry for the destination of my cash when that this was the first example that you thought of ;-)