Friday, July 19, 2024

Twitter has locked me out...

... and I'm not sure I want to even bother giving Mr Musk a fictional age to be allowed back in.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Reform response to ORG call to respect digital rights

The first response to my email to parliamentary candidates asking them to support digital rights in the next parliament has come from Reform candidate, James Gunn. He says:

"Hi Ray,

 Thanks for your email, This all makes a lot of sense although I might allow advertisees to optin for tracking for free  services subject to a proper explanation of what was being tracked and to whom it would be sold.

Here's "Our Contract with You" - like a manifesto, but we consider it a binding contract!   This is my only pledge
I hope you’ll vote for me / Reform on 4th July
James Gunn
Parliamentary Candidate Reform, Oxford West and Abingdon"

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Calling on election candidates to support digital rights

I have written to my prospective parliamentary candidates:

Layla Moran - Liberal Democrats

Stephen Webb - Labour

Chris Goodhall - Green Party

James Gunn - Reform

Anni Byard - Social Democratic Party

Ian Oliver Michael Shelley - Christian People's Alliance

... asking that they commit to support a core selection of digital rights that the Open Rights Group are campaigning for.

"I'm writing to you as a [ ] candidate in the general election, as I care about digital rights.

I am a supporter of Open Rights Group a UK-based digital rights organisation that campaigns to protect our rights to privacy and free speech online.

"Open Rights Group is calling on the next government to:

1. Protect our right to send secure messages
Everyone – including children and young people – should have the right to use end-to-end encryption to ensure that our communications are safe, secure and private. The next government should protect not undermine encryption.

2. Provide migrants with digital sanctuary
Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers need the same data and privacy rights as everyone else so that they can keep their digital identity and information safe. The next government should commit to ending the digital hostile environment.

3. Ban the use of pre-crime AI by the police
Predictive policing systems that use artificial intelligence (AI) to ‘predict’ criminal behaviour undermine our right to be presumed innocent and exacerbate discrimination and inequality in our criminal justice system. The next government should ban dangerous uses of AI in policing.

4. Defend our right to freedom of expression online
Freedom of expression online is being undermined by age verification, content takedowns, social media censorship and unfair copyright claims. The next government should commit to protecting our right to freedom of expression online.

5. Strengthen our data protection rights
We need strong data protection laws to make sure that governments and companies do not use our data to track, surveil and profit from us. The next government should strengthen our data protection rights and make sure that the data protection watchdog is fit for purpose.

6. End intrusive tracking by online advertisers
Advertising companies track our internet use to build detailed profiles so they can target us with adverts. The next government should restrict intrusive tracking by data brokers and online advertisers.

We know that Political Parties will often not allow candidates to agree to support particular policy positions outside their manifesto.

Therefore, I am instead asking you to make a simple pledge. That, if elected, you will uphold digital rights in the next parliament.

If you want to register your support as a candidate that is committed to digital rights, then ORG has produced a page where you can do so -

If you want to read ORG's full Digital Rights 24 Manifesto this can be read at. -

I look forward to hearing your views on digital rights."

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Reply from MP on Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill

 I got a response from my MP, Layla Moran, relating to concerns about the Investigatory Powers Amendment Bill, now Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Act 2024. It's boilerplate generic which, given Ms Moran's personal concerns on the terrible circumstances in Gaza, is understandable.

"Dear Ray 

Thank you for writing to me about the Investigatory Powers Bill.

In a changing world we rely on our intelligence services to help keep us safe. And we need a police force (National Crime Agency) that can cope with the internationalisation of crime. Liberal Democrats support the services that seek to do this.

These vital tasks have to be balanced against the freedoms and liberties at the heart of our country’s values. Every new power must be weighed in that balance.

Liberal Democrats are concerned about how these changes could undermine the privacy of everyone.

We have particular concerns about reductions in judicial scrutiny, and the possible use of available medical, genetic and legally privileged data.

For all its powers our police and security services need resources to take on the multinational cartels that prey on our people and threaten national security. Liberal Democrats will continue to push for resources to target these threats to our way of life.

Thanks again for writing to me about this incredibly important issue.

Best wishes, 


Layla Moran
Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Oxford West & Abingdon

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Note via ORG to local councillors on PREVENT programme

At the request of the Open Rights Group I have written to my local councillor, drawing their attention to the excellent report ORG have published on the Prevent programme, Prevent and the Pre-Crime State: How unaccountable data sharing is harming a generation.

"I am writing to bring to your attention to a recent report by the Open Rights Group, revealing concerning issues related to the UK's counter-terrorism Prevent programme. Prevent operates in the pre-crime space, in which no offence has taken place, but rather people are surveilled and viewed as suspicious. It operates by extracting data and policing information that further securitises the spaces of marginalised and vulnerable communities.

I believe it is crucial for us to ensure that the implementation of such programmes by our local authority aligns with the principles of transparency, accountability, and respect for individual rights.

The report highlights widespread data sharing and retention of Prevent referrals, even when marked 'no further action.'

Thousands of Prevent referrals are made each year, and most of these referrals concern children. The majority do not meet the threshold for a Channel intervention. Despite this, the data of Prevent referees can be retained for at least six and up to 100 years, raising potential privacy and civil liberties concerns.

Key findings from the report include:

- Referrals are stored within a national Prevent database, irrespective of whether they meet the threshold for a Channel panel review.

- Data is retained for a minimum of six years, with the possibility of being kept for up to 100 years, even when a case is marked no further action. This potentially violates individuals' rights if there is no policing purpose for retention.

- It is very difficult for individuals to exercise their right to erasure and request data is removed because many will not know that they have been referred to Prevent. Even when they do know, the lack of transparency about data sharing makes it very difficult for individuals to find out all the different places that their data is being held.

-ORG is calling for local authorities, police departments and individual institutions subject to the Prevent duty to ensure maximum transparency around referrals, data processing and data sharing practices, including the systems used and in as clear detail as possible.

- Data of Prevent referees is being shared with airports, ports, and immigration services, leading to real-life harms on people' lives.

- Particularly concerning is the impact on children, who make up the majority of Prevent referrals, whose data is being shared with children's services and retained for an extended period.

Given these findings, I am reaching out to request that this report and its recommendations are considered by the local authority. Could you please request it is placed on the agenda of an appropriate meeting.

It is essential to ensure that our community's rights and privacy are respected, and that the program's implementation strikes the right balance between security measures and protecting individual freedoms.

The report also includes case studies of children experiencing harms as a result of being referred to Prevent, underlining the urgency of addressing these issues.

As a Councillor with a commitment to our community's well-being, your involvement in reviewing and potentially advocating for improvements in the local handling of Prevent would be highly valued.

I understand your time is precious, but I believe that your attention to this matter can contribute to fostering a safe and just community. If you are open to it the report can be downloaded and read at the following website address -

Thank you for your dedication to serving our community, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this important issue.

Yours sincerely,

Ray Corrigan"

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Note to MP on DWP algorithm targeting disabled people for fraud investigation

At the behest of Foxglove, I have written to my MP, Layla Moran, about a discriminatory DWP algorithm being used to falsely accuse disabled people of benefit fraud.

"Dear Layla,

I’m very concerned about the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) use of an algorithm that targets disabled people for benefit fraud investigations.
Disabled people describe being flagged by the algorithm for no obvious reason and cast under suspicion of benefit fraud. They are then subjected to a lengthy, aggressive, and invasive investigation process.

I understand that UK law requires the DWP to test for and ensure safeguards are in place to address bias and discrimination in all its automated technologies. Despite that, the DWP has chosen not to test this algorithm(s) for potential impact on individuals with disabilities.
This is very concerning and there have been too many reports of innocent disabled people subjected to unfair, humiliating, distressing and invasive investigations because of this algorithm. This is particularly concerning after the Post Office Horizon scandal.

Please can you seek answers from the DWP? I would like you, as my MP, to write to the minister in charge and ask them:
· to explain in full how the system works
· what the DWP are doing to ensure it's not discriminatory.
I think if they can’t prove it’s not harming innocent people, then they should stop using it.  

Yours sincerely

Ray Corrigan"