Irish Digital Rights, and their feeble defenders

The sharp-eyed reader, a class tuppenceworth aspires to cater for, will have noted that I broke with tradition recently and actually contributed to a discussion going on amongst Irish bloggers about forming a group to promote digital civil rights in Ireland.
There it is now.
Now, since then, happenings have happened and occurrences have occurred. I accept that this is the normal way of things but it’s still all new to me.

A kind of seed group has been formed, like an irritating bit of grit in an oyster. The plan is to roll around and around, coating ourselves in mollusc mucus and emerge- a pearl!- on 15th October at the TechCamp Conference in Coolock. [This isn’t actually the plan. That would be silly. It is a strained metaphor for the real plan. Unless there have been major changes to the real plan nobody’s told me about.]

Before that glorious day we have just a few things to do of course.
We have to
1. Incorporate
2. Set up a donation method
3. Find an accountant
4. Keep the accountant when we tell them we have no money
5. Register as a lobby group.
6. Register with the Data Protection Commissioner.
7. Create various means of communication so we can talk and listen to the world. Including, but not as they say in the best legal documents, limited to discussion fora, mailing lists, a blog, wiki and pigeon post.
8. Complete a number of pamphlets, such as might be appropriate for an organisation such as this to write.
9. Prepare to make a well researched argument against the proposal to create surveillance files for every EU citizen.
10. Have a nice cup of tea.
11. Find out about Creative commons licences in Ireland.
12. Attempt to find some ingenious way of showing what Local Authority/ Dail/ European Constituency people are living in and who their local representatives are and what their stated position on our issues are.
13. Sigh. Get a stated position on our issues from every Co. Councillor/ TD and MEP. And every Senator for good measure.
14. Commence Project X, our classified plan. We can’t tell you what it is yet. But we can say there is also a Project Y and a Project Z. They get progressively more secret. (The smart money is it being some kind of Segway)
15. Open friendly relations with other groups in this area, abroad.
16. Open friendly relations with groups in Ireland who might like to see some or all of our aims met. Say SAGE or the ICTE or the like.
17. Just be friendly sorts. We like everybody. We think everybody should like us.
18. Distribute roles and titles like the kings and queens of Tara. (Bags not fighting any Scottish Giants.)
19. Give out strong vibes to suggest that females are welcome to care about digital rights. This is not a boys only club.

What has been done so far?
We exist
We’ve agreed a draft Memo and Arts
We’ve explored opening a bank account.
We’ve drawn up a list of issues we think we ought to (a) have an opinion on, and (b) agree what that opinion might be.
We’ve written two helpful pamphlets
We’ve said a bare hello to our UK counterparts
We’ve been trailed, like a teaser ad campaign, in the Irish Times business section, and at the IrelandOFFline AGM.

What can you do to help?

Let us know you’re interested. Send an email with your personal super-powers (accountancy, programming, good at talking, able to write letters to elected representatives, have a lot of friends or whatever combination best suits you) and your name and address- and if you know it, your Dail constituency and Local Authority area.
Send it to [email protected]


  • Piaras Kelly says:

    The Irish Digital Rights group and TechCamp are two completely seperate things.

  • Simon says:

    Piaras is completely correct, and my apologies if that wasn’t clear in the post. TechCamp is a self-organising conference, akin to similar ventures in the US. It has a Wiki where, amongst other organisational bits of business, the news on planned events and attendants appear, and a board dedicated to it on
    Piaras, of P Kelly PR is amongst the organisers.

  • celtictigger says:

    Have you investigated paypal as a donation mechanism?

  • celtictigger says:

    Also, registration with the DPC is not strictly speaking necessary as you are a voluntary sector not for profit. Got this from the horses mouth (one of the asst data protection commissioners) when we were running the IQ network conference last February (ps The October Information Quality Conference is on on the 13th in DCU)

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