New group launches to protect online rights

A new advocacy organization has launched to fight to protect the human rights of Australian internet users.

With the backing of human and consumer rights organizations including CHOICE, Thoughtworks and the NSW Council for Civil Liberties and prominent Australians including human rights lawyer Julian Burnside, broadcaster Mary Kostakidis, and iiNet founder Michael Malone, Digital Rights Watch aims to combat the erosion of human rights in the online environment.

Digital Rights Watch Chair Tim Singleton Norton said the organization is committed to ensuring a free and open Internet as the cornerstone of a modern approach to human rights.

“The federal government is pursuing a number of schemes that will grossly infringe Australians’ human rights while they are using digital technology.

“The mandatory data retention scheme and mass surveillance operations such as the plan for a national facial biometric data capability have massive consequences for the privacy of ordinary people.

“Australian’s human rights to privacy are being compromised by widespread warrantless surveillance without adequate safeguards.

“Digital Rights Watch has formed because Australians need a strong advocate for their rights when they are online.

“We stand for privacy, democracy, fairness and freedom in a digital age, ” said Mr Singleton Norton.

The first actions of Digital Rights Watch will be the roll out of a fortnightly policy briefing for the community on key issues that impact on their rights.

“Everyone who uses a telephone, has an email address, a Twitter account or any interaction with the Internet should know how their information is used and stored and be protected from abuse. Digital rights are important to everyone,” concluded Mr Singleton Norton.

For further information or interviews call Erin Farley on 0404 864 593

Digital Rights Watch is connecting strategists with designers, programmers with lawyers and campaigners with journalists.

Partner organisations

  • Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
  • Australian Progress
  • Australian Privacy Foundation
  • Blueprint for Free Speech
  • Liberty Victoria
  • Thoughtworks
  • National Justice Project
  • NSW Council for Civil Liberties
  • Future Wise

Supporting individuals

  • Michael Malone, founder and former Managing Director of iiNet
  • Jennifer Robinson, Director of Legal Advocacy, Bertha Foundation
  • Mary Kostakidis, Broadcaster and journalist
  • Julian Burnside AO QC, Barrister & human rights advocate
  • Ass. Prof. Ellie Rennie, Deputy Director, Swinburne Institute for Social Research
  • Andrew Bartlett, former Senator and Research fellow, Australian National University
  • Prof. Rob Sparrow, Department of Philosophy, Monash University
  • Ben Eltham, journalist
  • Dr TJ McIntyre, Chair of Digital Rights Ireland
  • Antony Loewenstein, independent journalist, Guardian columnist and author
  • George Newhouse, Director, National Justice Project
  • Bernard Keane, journalist
  • Tracey Dunning, Industry & Policy, Regulatory Program Co-ordinator, Macquarie Telecom
  • John Lindsay, former CTO of iiNet & Internode
  • Helen Razer, journalist and commentator
  • Dr Paul Bernal, Lecturer, Information Technology, Intellectual Property and Media Law, UEA School of Law
  • Prof. Dianne Otto, Francine V McNiff Chair in Human Rights Law at Melbourne University, Director of the Institute for International Law and the Humanities
  • Prof. Ariadne Vromen, Dept of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney
  • Dr. Aim Simpeng, Dept of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney
  • Dr. Benedetta Brevini, Dept of Media and Communications, University of Sydney
  • Asher Wolf, journalist
  • Trisha Jha, libertarian commentator
  • Carly Nyst, Human rights lawyer
  • Prof. Julian Thomas, Swinburne University
  • Dr Angela Daly, Vice Chancellor’s Research fellow, Queensland University of Technology
  • Dr Tama Leaver, Senior Lecturer of Internet Studies, Curtin University
  • Dr Rebecca Giblin, Senior Lecturer, Monash Faculty of Law
  • Dr Monika Zalnieriute, Melbourne Law School
  • Brett Solomon, Access Now