Damien Mulley got in contact with me about the issue of having an organization to deal with issues around on-line rights and related issues. I think the key to making this work is to build on the strengths of the organizations already working in this area.
I’ve been around this track a few times, and it is extremely difficult to put something coherent and self-sustaining together. A lot of problems seem to arise around funding, direction and management.
Rather than trying to build a completely new organization from scratch, I think we should move forward by supporting the existing organizations who are doing good work in this area.
Ireland Offline has been working at getting better Internet access in Ireland. I don’t think this group has reached near its full potential but they are definitely hammering away at the issue.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has an e-rights and freedom of expression working group. They have spoken out in relation to the national DNA database and have organized meetings about privacy issues.
The Irish Free Software Organization has done good work on the area of software patents. One of their number has gone on to represent the Free Software Foundation in Brussels.
SAGE (System Administrators Guild of Ireland) has done a deep analysis of the upshots of legislation such as traffic data retention from a systems administration point of view.
Irish Citizens for Trustworthy E-voting fought the good fight on the electronic voting issue.
So this is the current state of play. I think a new organization has to take care to bring these strong, existing groups on board and support them, rather than attempting to supplant them.
Do you know of any other relevant organizations in Ireland? Give details in the comments and maybe we can find a way to coordinate and support these groups better.
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