The Open Rights Group is up for an award in the Advocacy category. This non-profit organisation was founded in 2005 from a simple Pledgebank.org request put up by technology journalist Danny O’Brien and supported by technology advocate Sue Charman, showing perhaps the early power of grassroots online fundraising.
In just over a year it has done quite a lot for such a tiny organisation, raising awareness of privacy in the new age of digital interaction, identity, data protection, access to knowledge and copyright reform. Perhaps its most useful work has been to educate journalists who have to navigate the thorny issues around digital rights abuses.
It can’t be taken for granted that the rights we have enjoyed for years in the offline world (such as they are) will translate directly to a new digital world, where government and business interests seem magically to take precedent every time anyone wants to do anything vaguely creative – like give away their music or access their MI5 file.