Big Brother Watch – a front organisation?
Whose side is the British civil liberties and privacy campaign group, BIG BROTHER WATCH, actually on?
When I look at some of the personnel at BBW (Big Brother Watch), and BBW’s connections, I am suspicious of their true intentions. Are they watching ‘Big Brother’, or are they ‘Big Brother’ watching us?
They came into focus for me when I saw a prime-time BBC1 TV documentary (“Panorama”) in June 2023 on China’s global surveillance operation: “Is China Watching You?” (June 26th, 2023). One of the informants interviewed for the Panorama documentary was BBW Director SILKIE CARLO, who has appeared before on mainstream TV, including flagship political programmes such as the BBC‘s “Any Questions?” and “Politics Live”. Carlo wrote numerous articles for the centre-right, pro-Tory newspaper, “The Daily Telegraph”. She also wrote an article for the centre-left newspaper, “The Guardian”, in 2018, which reveals what appears to me to be her negative attitude towards conspiracy theories and which reveals her underlying motives, I believe. She wrote:
“The public execution of Infowars is dangerous and counterproductive” (Silkie Carlo Fri 10 Aug 2018 09.38 BST)
“In cutting off the rightwing media outlet without explanation, the social media companies have simply fed the conspiracists…”
“Hundreds of well-intentioned campaigners, commentators and even journalists are celebrating the public hanging of Infowars – but this style of execution benefits no one…”
“Surely the very worst way to convince conspiracy theorists that there is no conspiracy is for the world’s most powerful tech companies to simultaneously silence the most popular conspiracy theorist?”
Here’s the link to her article:
The day after the Panorama documentary, BBW sent a public email to its’ subscribers proudly informing us of Carlo’s contribution to the show:
Last night our hard efforts fuelled a bombshell BBC Panorama investigation, unveiling the rampant spread of Chinese surveillance cameras within the UK…(Madeleine Stone, Legal and Policy Officer)”
Does this mean that BBW has no fundamental problem with the BBC?
And what is the BBC’s true motive here? IMO, it’s not so much to rein in China, rather, it’s to stimulate global control of surveillance technology, at a time when AI technology is being likened to pandemics and climate change by mainstream industry insiders.
Coincidentally or not, BBW is currently (2023) headquartered only a 10-minute walk (half a mile) from the MI6 HQ in London. Previously, the BBW HQ was at a London address that hosted a network of ‘Right Wing’ libertarian lobby groups and think tanks related to pro-Brexit, climate science denial and other fossil-fuel lobby groups. Some of the organisations it housed had close connections with those housed next door at 57 Tufton Street, including the ‘free market’ think tank CPS (Centre for Policy Studies) and the CPS’ online newspaper “CapX”.
Both BBW founders were influential Right Wingers: ALEX DEANE and MATTHEW ELLIOTT.
Alex Deane served as Chief of Staff to the future Prime Minister David Cameron when shadow Secretary of State for Education. More of Cameron later. Deane was a regular commentator on Sky News and BBC Dateline London.
Matthew Elliott was described by the BBC as “one of the most effective lobbyists at Westminster”, and in 2010 he was named by “Total Politics” magazine as one of the top 25 political influencers in the UK.
I’ll say more about those two later.
Note – there’s a fair number of names and dot-connecting in this article, so make sure you are wide awake! It’s best to read it periodically as there are almost 11000 words (approx. 45 minutes to read).
BBW was founded in 2009. At its launch were the Labour socialist TONY BENN and the former Tory cabinet minister DAVID DAVIS (Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union).
The BBW Chairman in 2023 was the British Liberal Democrat politician and millionaire philanthropist PAUL STRASBURGER (Baron Strasburger) who in 2023 was a committee member of the UK Parliament’s National Security Strategy (Joint Committee).
Other BBW Board members in 2023 included MARK LITTLEWOOD, the Director General of the influential ‘right wing’ ‘free market’ think tank, the IEA (Institute of Economic Affairs). Littlewood featured as a regular guest on BBC flagship political programmes such as “Question Time”, “Newsnight”, “Today”, and he also appeared on “Sky News”. He wrote a regular column for “The Times” and featured in many other print and broadcast media.
Littlewood was formerly the chief press spokesman for the Liberal Democrats and the Pro-Euro Conservative Party and was an advisor to the Conservative Party under Prime Minister David Cameron. Having previously been in favour of deeper European integration, Littlewood later adopted a Eurosceptic position and supported Brexit. When pro-Europe, he had been President of the UK branch of the Young European Federalists and his first job was working for the “European Movement”.
Littlewood and Silkie Carlo shared a common employer: the human rights group LIBERTY, where Littlewood was the Campaigns Director. He was the co-founder and first chief executive of NO2ID, the campaign against the introduction of identity cards in the UK.
NO2ID sprang from Liberty and other campaign groups (e.g., Charter 88 and PRIVACY INTERNATIONAL) who attended a public meeting at the very influential LSE (London School of Economics) in 2004, where the idea of a campaign against ID cards was first proposed, so we are told. Speakers there included the future PM, David Cameron. The fledgling group appointed Mark Littlewood, then on sabbatical from Liberty, as its chief spokesman.
Note the involvement of the LSE, where BBW co-founder Matthew Elliot graduated, and where he was President of the LSESU Hayek Society, which promotes classical liberalism and free market economics among LSE students. The LSE became active in opposing British government proposals to introduce compulsory ID cards, researching into the associated costs of the scheme, and shifting public and government opinion on the issue. One of their reports on the subject, “The Identity Project: An assessment of the UK Identity Cards Bill and its implications (2005)”, had 2 Project Mentors, both belonging to the aforementioned “Privacy International”: SIMON DAVIES and Dr GUS HOSEIN. The PI (Privacy International) founder, Simon Davies, worked at the LSE as a visiting senior fellow within the Department of Management of the LSE. Davies was also codirector of the LSE’s “Policy Engagement Network” which researched options for the process stage of the development of a new British constitution.
PI defends and promotes the right to privacy across the world, so they say. PI say that their objective is to promote the human right of privacy throughout the world, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent United Nations conventions and declarations. PI boasted that they have influenced the UN: “Privacy International has been engaging in various UN human rights monitoring mechanisms as a means of integrating references and recommendations on the right to privacy, including data protection, within these processes.”
PI has been funded and supported – they say – by a variety of foundations, academic establishments, and non-government organizations, including:
George Soros’ Open Society Foundations;
the European Parliament;
the European Commission;
The Ford Foundation;
the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust;
the Omidyar Network (established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar).
PI say they want:
“A Global Standard for Data Protection Law”;
The rule of law (“Learning from Snowden, litigating against secret surveillance”);
“Building the Global Movement. A truly international human rights [system] requires a vibrant civil society… We advocate for strong standards at regional and international regulatory and human rights bodies such as the Inter-American and African systems, Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the United Nations.”
The PI’s executive director in 2023 was Dr GUS HOSEIN, who acted as an external evaluator for the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees); advised the UN Special Rapporteur on Terrorism and Human Rights; and advised other international organisations. During the Covid ‘pandemic’, he was invited to join the UK Government’s Ethics Advisory Board for the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app; later complaining publicly that the initial trial of the app on the Isle of Wight had not been long enough to provide results.
It seems to me that a lot of human rights groups give the UN an easy ride, preferring to focus their wrath on national governments and private corporations – exactly what is needed for the UN to reign supreme.
Hosein advised the aforementioned Omidyar Network on its’ Digital Identity Portfolio, because it wants a worldwide digital identity system and “Good ID”.
And what’s this? Hosein held visiting fellowships at the LSE and University College London.
Hosein worked alongside Silkie Carlo (BBW Director) and the aforementioned BBW board member Mark Littlewood in 2023 on the advisory council of a significant UK think tank: FIPR (The Foundation for Information Policy Research), which, it says, “…is the leading think tank for Internet policy in Britain. It studies the interaction between IT, Government, business and civil society”.
FIPR contributed to the creation of NO2ID.
Other FIPR advisers have included the LIBERTY Director and LSE Governor, SHAMI CHAKRABARTI (Baroness Chakrabarti, CBE) – Labour Party politician; LSE graduate. Chakrabarti was one of a panel of ‘experts’ chosen by the PM David Cameron for his anti-Brexit campaign “Britain Stronger in Europe”. She said that the EU had helped bring peace to the continent of Europe.
After graduating, Chakrabarti was called to the Bar and then worked as an in-house legal counsel for the Home Office. When she was the director of Liberty, she campaigned against what Liberty considered “excessive” anti-terror legislation. In this role, she frequently contributed to BBC Radio 4 and various newspapers, and was described by David Aaronovitch in “The Times” as “probably the most effective public affairs lobbyist of the past 20 years”.
Both Chakrabarti and Liberty were criticised by David Icke in his “Human Race Get Off Your Knees” because – amongst other things – she served at the influential DITCHLEY FOUNDATION (on the board of governors), and she contributed to COMMON PURPOSE courses. As a baroness, she belonged to the UK’s prestigious PRIVY COUNCIL, a formal body of advisers to the sovereign of the UK. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are existing or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.
Chakrabarti was scheduled to speak at a public BBW debate in 2023, led by Carlo: “Does the UK Need a Digital Bill of Rights?”
Now that I’ve set the background to this essay, I’m going to expand on some of the people and organisations outlined above, starting with Big Brother Watch. More coffee and keep concentrating!
BBW co-founder Alex Deane was a significant Brexit supporter, being the executive director of the eurosceptic “Grassroots Out” campaign that was started by politicians from a mixture of political parties including Nigel Farage of UKIP. Deane in 2023 was a member of a Right-leaning, liberal pressure group, THE FREEDOM ASSOCIATION (on its’ management committee), whose chairman in 2023 was the former UKIP Deputy Leader, David Campbell Bannerman.
The BBW Director, Silkie Carlo, worked at Liberty as Senior Advocacy Officer.
Carlo spearheaded several national campaigns including opposition to live facial recognition surveillance, on which her work was featured in the Sundance-nominated documentary “Coded Bias” (streaming on Netflix). She was regularly invited to give expert evidence on civil liberties matters to the UK Parliament and has also given oral evidence on technology and human rights issues to the European Parliament and the Bundestag.
Carlo worked for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s official legal defence fund and she advocated for Chelsea Manning, among other whistleblowers at risk.
She has been an organizer of ‘CryptoParty’ events in London. CryptoParty (Crypto-Party) is a grassroots global endeavour, supposedly, to introduce the basics of practical cryptography to the general public. In May 2014, “Wired” reported that Edward Snowden, while employed by Dell as an NSA contractor, organized a local CryptoParty at a small hackerspace in Honolulu, Hawaii six months before becoming well known for leaking tens of thousands of secret U.S. government documents.
Carlo and ‘hacktivist’ Arjen Kamphuis co-authored “Information Security for Journalists”, commissioned by the CIJ (Centre for Investigative Journalism), a University of London-based think tank set up by WIKILEAKS Director, GAVIN MACFADYEN, who was Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s mentor/defender.
The BBW’s Senior Advocacy Officer, MADELEINE STONE, appeared on BBC Radio 5 LIVE in October 2023 to take questions from members of the public on the issue of facial recognition surveillance. The BBW had brought together 65 parliamentarians and 32 rights groups to call for an immediate stop to live facial recognition surveillance. Subsequently, Carlo was on LBC NEWS, and Mark Johnson (BBW Advocacy Manager) was on BBC NEWS.
Madeleine Stone received an MA in Human Rights Law from the SOAS (University of London), where she specialised in counter-terrorism policy, surveillance, and the right to privacy. The SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) hosted a project relevant here called ICOP (Influencing the Corridors of Power), which hosted events on freedom of speech, such as events discussing Wikileaks founder JULIAN ASSANGE, whose wife and legal defender STELLA ASSANGE had been a SOAS law student. ICOP wrote:
“By bringing researchers and Westminster closer together, we address the democratic deficit which we believe is a result of encroaching government control on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly on SOAS and other campuses. The project is born out of the five-year AHRC/ESRC funded project, “Representing Islam on Campus”, and the follow-up project, “Voices of Dissent”. We intend that this project will serve as a model for the higher education sector and democracy more generally.”
Stella Assange spoke at an ICOP discussion in 2023: “New Censorship and Blacklists”. Stella met Pope Francis, commenting that the pope’s gesture in receiving her was evidence of his “ongoing show of support for our family’s plight” and concern over the suffering of Julian. After the audience, Stella said Francis had sent a letter to her husband in March 2021. “He has provided great solace and comfort and we are extremely appreciative for his reaching out to our family in this way,” she told the Associated Press. “He understands that Julian is suffering and is concerned.”
Let’s return to BBW’s Madeleine Stone: she volunteered for organisations that support refugees across Europe.
Stone worked with a range of organisations that supposedly promote freedom of expression in the UK and globally, including:
ENGLISH PEN, the English branch of PEN INTERNATIONAL, the latter of which the Fabian novelist H.G. WELLS was a founding member and a President. A Trustee of English PEN in 2023 was Ted Hodgkinson who sat on the selection panel for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Fellowship. PEN International is a non-governmental organization in formal consultative relations with UNESCO and Special Consultative Status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council.
INDEX ON CENSORSHIP – its’ chairman in 2023 was the TV presenter/producer and politician TREVOR PHILLIPS, who was Chair of the LONDON ASSEMBLY that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London. His long-standing friendship with the Labour Party politician Peter Mandelson (who worked with Phillips at LWT and was best man at his first wedding) brought him close to the ‘New Labour’ project and he became friendly with Tony Blair. Phillips joined the Labour Party in London in 1996. Phillips and Mandelson were both board members of the anti-Brexit “Britain Stronger in Europe” campaign.
Phillips was also a Director of IOC (Index on Censorship) in 2023, as was the left-leaning BBC presenter, DAVID AARONOVITCH, who had succeeded Trevor Phillips as president of the NUS (National Union of Students). Aaronovitch had been the chair of IOC, succeeding the BBC political presenter Jonathan Dimbleby in the role.
Another IOC director in 2023 was a solicitor, MARK STEPHENS (CBE), who represented Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, defending him against an extradition request to Sweden based on suspicion of numerous sexual offences. Stephens is known for representing JAMES HEWITT when allegations of his affair with Diana, Princess of Wales first emerged. Stephens also founded the law firm Howard Kennedy LLP, which has represented several high-profile clients in media and entertainment law cases.
The IOC chief executive in 2020 was the British Labour Party politician and pro-Jewish activist RUTH SMEETH (Baroness Anderson of Stoke-on-Trent), who served as Personal Private Secretary to TOM WATSON, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Smeeth opposed the Jeremy Corbyn leadership.
Smeeth’s Jewish activism began at BICOM (Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre) where she was director of public affairs and campaigns. She was a deputy director of the anti-racist organisation, HOPE NOT HATE. Smeeth worked at the pro-British Jews charity CST (Community Security Trust) and worked for the Board of Deputies of British Jews. She was Vice Chair and Parliamentary Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement.
LAWYERS WITHOUT BORDERS – wants to create a global association of lawyers committed to internationally oriented pro bono service and rule of law. Its’ partners included the UN, the World Bank, and Intel. “Lawyers without Borders” has numerous University Student Divisions, including those at the LSE, the SOAS (University of London), Cambridge University, Oxford University.
Now let’s look at Liberty.
Liberty’s Director in 2023 was MARTHA SPURRIER, previously a lawyer at the mental health charity, MIND. Spurrier was on maternity leave in 2023, so her interim replacement was AKIKO HART, who had a prominent mental health background, such as being the Director of MENTAL HEALTH EUROPE, a European NGO that collaborates with European policy makers and other international bodies including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Health Organization, European Commission, European Parliament and the International Labour Organization.
Hart was a Trustee of the “Hearing Voices Network (UK)”, for those who hear voices, have visions, and other unusual experiences. The Ruling Elite control major mental health bodies as well as the New Age movement, so it will be interesting to see how the two fields merge in their treatment of psychic phenomena.
Let us now focus on the CIJ (Centre for Investigative Journalism), which had commissioned Silkie Carlo to write a report.
The CIJ attracted support from UNESCO; George Soros’ Open Society Institute; the Ford Foundation; and Goldsmiths College (University of London).
The CIJ Director in 2023, JAMES HARKIN, was associate producer on two BBC TV series by Adam Curtis: “The Trap” and “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace”.
Harkin appeared on the BBC’s “Newsnight”, “Channel 4 News” and “Sky News” to talk about new media and social and political change, and he debated cultural policy and the internet with the (then) Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt on the BBC’s “Today” programme.
Harkin wrote a column for “The Guardian” called BIG IDEA, and before that he wrote similar columns for “The Times” and the “Financial Times”. He also wrote for “Time”, “Foreign Policy”, “Prospect”, and the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) in New York.
In 2018, Harkin was a fellow at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University, for a project on fighting ‘fake news’: “The Fight Against Disinformation in the U.S.”
The CIJ Board Chair in 2023 was ISABEL HILTON, who has written and presented several documentaries for BBC radio and television and has been a writer or editor for British national newspapers: The Sunday Times, the Independent and the Guardian. Hilton founded and was CEO of the CHINA DIALOGUE TRUST, dedicated to promoting a common understanding of China’s environmental challenges.
On the China Dialogue’s Executive Board in 2023 was:
LOUISIANA LUSH – a consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Fund, the World Bank, WHO, GAVI. She was an academic policy analyst at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
LEO HORN-PHATHANOTHAI – a policy specialist at the Regional Bureau for Africa of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Prior to joining the UNDP, he was national coordinator for the UK-China Sustainable Development Dialogue.
CAROLINE HOLTUM – a strategic communicator focused on tackling the climate crisis. She was the UK Government’s Communications Director for the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference. Before that, she was Communications Director at “We Mean Business”, a coalition focused on driving corporate climate action, whose Chair was SIR IAN CHESHIRE (Chairman of Channel 4; Chair of the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund; Chair of Barclays Bank; Chairman of the Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change).
Now to look at FIPR (Foundation for Information Policy Research), where Silkie Carlo was an adviser.
FIPR was established by Cambridge University Professor ROSS ANDERSON, a privacy campaigner who recommended abolishing MI5 as a way of stamping out the British state’s unaccountable involvement in the NSA spying scandal. Anderson was a critic of smart meters, writing that there are various privacy and energy security concerns.
FIPR’s Advisory Council in 2023 included:
MAURICE FRANKEL (OBE) – director of the UK-based “Campaign for Freedom of Information”. He was a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Group on Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act and of the Commonwealth Group of Experts whose Freedom of Information Principles were adopted by Commonwealth Law Ministers in 1999.
PHIL ZIMMERMANN – computer scientist and cryptographer. He was the creator of “Pretty Good Privacy” (PGP), once the most widely used email encryption software in the world.
DANNY QUAH – ex-head of the LSE Economics Department and co-director of LSE Global Governance. Quah had served previously as consultant to the Bank of England, the World Bank, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He was a member of the WEF Global Agenda Council on Economic Imbalances. Quah, in 2023, was on the advisory board of the financial think tank, OMFIF. The OMFIF Advisory Council included former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer NORMAN LAMONT and was chaired by the LSE Professor Emeritus, Lord Meghnad Desai, former chairman of the Labour party. Quah gave TED talks.
WENDY GROSSMAN – founder/editor of “The Skeptic”, the UK’s longest-running publication offering skeptical analysis of pseudoscience, conspiracy theory and claims of the paranormal. A former editor-in-chief was the well-known skeptic of the paranormal: CHRIS FRENCH, head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. Grossman and Chris French were Fellows of the CSI (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, originally CSICOP).
“The Skeptic” got support and direction from an international Editorial Advisory Board comprised of numerous famous skeptics: James Randi, Prof. Richard Dawkins, Dr Susan Blackmore, Prof. Brian Cox, Dr Richard Wiseman, Dr Simon Singh, Stephen Fry, Derren Brown, Philip Escoffey, Robin Ince, Tim Minchin.
As “The Skeptic” founder and editor, Grossman appeared on numerous UK TV and radio programmes.
Grossman sat on the Advisory Councils of PI (Privacy International) and a human rights organization that other FIPRI members have also belonged to: the ORG (OPEN RIGHTS GROUP), which I shall expand on below.
BECKY HOGGE – the first full-time executive director of the ORG. Hogge was previously the managing editor at openDemocracy.net, an independent media platform and news website based in the United Kingdom, which has been funded by grants from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Open Society Foundations, the Ford Foundation, and Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.
During her time with openDemocracy Hogge helped establish the aforementioned China environment website chinadialogue.net, along with the aforementioned editor Isabel Hilton. Hogge was a board member of the OKF (Open Knowledge Foundation), a global, non-profit network that promotes and shares information at no charge, including both content and data. The OKF was founded by RUFUS POLLOCK, who co-founded ORG and was appointed by the UK government as one of the four founding members of its’ Public Sector Transparency Board, established by the Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, to drive forward the UK Government’s transparency agenda. In 2015, that Transparency Board’s functions were taken over by the Data Steering Group, of which the latter’s members included Google DeepMind co-founder MUSTAFA SULEYMAN.
The FIPR General Counsel in 2023 was NICHOLAS BOHM, who was on the ORG Advisory Council.
So, who are the ORG?
The Open Rights Group (ORG) is a UK-based organisation that claims to preserve digital rights and freedoms by campaigning on digital rights issues and by fostering a community of grassroots activists. It campaigns on numerous issues including mass surveillance, internet filtering and censorship, and intellectual property rights.
In 2017, the ORG, BBW and English PEN took a case against the United Kingdom, to the European Court of Human Rights arguing that British surveillance laws infringed British citizens’ right to privacy.
ORG in 2010 organised ORGCON, the first ever conference dedicated to digital rights in the UK, and included keynote talks from Liberty, NO2ID and Big Brother Watch. There were also keynote talks by the future Labour Party Deputy Leader TOM WATSON (on the ORG Advisory Council) and by JAMES BOYLE, chair of CREATIVE COMMONS. I’ll say more on Creative Commons later but suffice to say it got support from the Omidyar Network and The Rockefeller Foundation, and its’ advisers included Wikipedia co-founder JIMMY WALES.
Tom Watson, in 2019, said he wanted the state to have the power to break up social media giants and tech monopolies. and he called for the end of “surveillance capitalism”. He outlined Labour’s plans for internet and social media regulation under a Jeremy Corbyn government. Watson also spoke about tackling fake news and hate speech. Global tech companies would be made accountable under a set of Digital Democracy Guarantees, he said. Labour would ensure that online political advertisers targeting UK citizens are based in the UK; and would take “immediate steps” to prevent foreign interference in elections, cyber-attacks and disinformation campaigns.
ORGCON’s 2019 conference had a keynote speech given by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Noticeably the YouTube video of that speech hasn’t yet been deleted by YouTube, at least not in 2023 when I watched some of it.
Edward Snowden’s keynote ORGCon19 in London 13 July 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgjLdcltFu and I at the end
ORG is a member organisation of EDRi (European Digital Rights), the biggest European network defending rights and freedoms online, so they say, and it has served as the backbone of the digital rights movement in Europe. FIPR is also a member of EDRi.
EDRi funders included the FORD FOUNDATION, OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS, INTERNET SOCIETY, MACARTHUR FOUNDATION, OMIDYAR NETWORK (and its’ spinoff LUMINATE).
The EDRi President in 2023 was an ORG Board Director: ANNA FIELDER. At “Privacy International” she was Chairman, senior policy adviser and Chair Emerita.
A former ORG Chief Operating Officer was AL GHAFF, who in 2023 was on the BBW board, and who politically had been a member of the Liberal Democrats’ Federal Board (Governing Board).
The ORG Advisory Council in 2023 included:
Google DeepMind Director of Security and Transparency, BEN LAURIE, acknowledged as one of the foremost computer security experts in the world. Laurie was a member of WikiLeaks’ Advisory Board. According to Laurie, he had little involvement with WikiLeaks, and didn’t know who ran the site other than Julian Assange. Laurie was the creator of Apache-SSL, the world’s most popular encrypted webserver, and a core team member of OpenSSL – the world’s most widely used cryptographic library.
TREVOR CALLAGHAN – General Counsel at DeepMind. Callaghan was previously a Legal Director at Google, working with a variety of Google legal teams globally across a range of operational and legal issues. He was on the editorial board of “The UN Brief”, which reports on the United Nations, Digital Rights, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence and much more.
CHRIS YIU – at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change he led the Technology & Public Policy team. He held senior roles at a number of public, private and third sector organisations including HM Treasury, and the UK Cabinet Office.
ADAM MCGREGGOR – an ORG co-founder; a NO2ID co-founder (also their Technical Director); co-founder of mySociety, a British-based international NGO that develops civic tech tools. mySociety was co-founded by TOM STEINBERG who worked in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit from 2001 to 2003. In 2010, Steinberg joined the UK Government’s new Transparency Board, which was to be established to promote “greater transparency across Government”.
MySociety funders in 2023 included the controversial QUADRATURE CLIMATE FOUNDATION, set up by Quadrature Capital, a multibillion-pound investment fund founded by the enigmatic billionaires Greg Skinner and Suneil Setiya.
MySociety Past funders:
Google Inc, Google.org, the Google Digital News Initiative, the MacArthur Foundation, Microsoft, the UK Ministry of Justice, Nesta, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister e-Innovations Fund, Open Society Foundations, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Wikimedia Foundation, and Channel 4’s 4IP fund.
ORG Board of Directors in 2023 included:
STEVEN MURDOCH – FIPR Advisory Council member; the creator of the TOR BROWSER and served as Chief Technology Officer for the OpenNet Initiative (funded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute). At UCL (University College London), Murdoch was Professor of Security Engineering in, and head of, the ISEC (Information Security) Research Group, where fellow staff included Prof Madeline Carr, a member of the WEF Global Council on the IoT (Internet of Things). UCL ISEC Honorary and Visiting Members included Ben Laurie and Gus Hosein (Privacy International).
LUISA PORRITT – Before her political career, Porritt worked as a consultant for Peter Mandelson’s strategic advisory firm GLOBAL COUNSEL. Like Shami Chakrabarti, Mandelson served at the Ditchley Foundation. Mandelson also belonged to the cyber security company BLUEVOYANT, whose executives in 2023 included GCHQ Director ROBERT HANNIGAN, who led the creation of the UK’s National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC) and he was Security Advisor to the UK Prime Minister.
ORG co-founders included those connected to the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation):
DANNY O’BRIEN, a British technology journalist and civil liberties activist. He was the EFF’s International Director and a special adviser.
CORY DOCTOROW – European director of the EFF and a special adviser. He was a MIT Media Lab Research Affiliate.
Doctorow was skeptical of conspiracy theories in his 2019 article: “Why do people believe the Earth is flat?”
“A funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century: Even as old conspiracy theories were growing more implausible, they also became more popular. Take the Flat Earth: Never before in human history have more people seen the Earth’s curvature with their own eyes. From climate denial to anti-vax to a resurgent eugenics movement, we are in a golden age of terrible conspiratorial thinking, with real consequences for our species’ continued survival on our (decidedly round) planet.”
“Why don’t we agree on the urgency of climate change? Because of a moneyed conspiracy to make us doubt it. Why did we let a single family amass riches greater than the Rockefellers while peddling OxyContin and claiming it wasn’t addictive? Because of a moneyed conspiracy. Why do some 737s fall out of the sky? Why are our baby-bottles revealed to be lined with carcinogenic plastics? Why do corrupt companies get to profit by consorting with the world’s most despicable dictators? Conspiracies. In other words: Big Tech doesn’t have a mind-control ray, but it does have an incredibly sophisticated people-finding machine, and if you’re looking for people who might believe in your conspiracy, it helps if there’s a massive pool of people around who’ve been battered (and had their lives irreparably harmed) by conspiracies.”
Opinion: Why do people believe the Earth is flat? – The Globe and Mail
Doctorow blames disinformation and conspiratorialism on the rise of monopolies, in his book “HOW TO DESTROY SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM”.
Now to look at the EFF.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is an international non-profit digital rights group based in San Francisco, California.
The EFF Vice Chairman in 2023 was BRIAN BEHLENDORF, a co-creator of the popular APACHE web server that had evolved from a project by the US Government-backed NCSA. Subsequently, Behlendorf and Ben Laurie were both initial members of the Apache Software Foundation.
At the WEF, Behlendorf was CTO (Chief Technology Officer), where he rebooted a 30-year-old legacy environment with open software and open thinking, so we are told.
Behlendorf worked on the 2008 Obama campaign as a technology advisor, and then at the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, developing strategies for open access to data and APIs. Later he advised the US Department of Health and Human Services on the launch of two Open-Source software projects designed to accelerate the adoption of standards for the exchange of electronic health records.
EFF Board Directors in 2023 included:
SARAH DEUTSCH – at VERIZON Communications (telecoms conglomerate) Deutsch was Vice President and Deputy General Counsel. There she was responsible for Verizon’s global IP practice, including copyrights, trademarks, patent licensing, and unfair competition. Deutsch managed Verizon’s privacy practice. She was one of five negotiators for the U.S. telecommunications industry in the negotiations that lead to the passage of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). Deutsch was an ICANN board member.
BREWSTER KAHLE – director and co-founder of the INTERNET ARCHIVE, the largest publicly accessible, privately funded digital archive in the world. It co-created the WAYBACK MACHINE that contains hundreds of billions of web captures. The other co-creator was Kahle’s ALEXA INTERNET, which he sold to Amazon.com, and whose name would be used for Amazon’s well-known virtual assistant. Alexa Internet’s services were bundled into more than 80% of Web browsers. Alexa Internet began a partnership with Google in 2002. Kahle created the Internet’s first publishing system called Wide Area Information Server (WAIS), later selling the company to AOL.
GIGI SOHN – US President Joe Biden nominated Sohn several times to serve as a commissioner of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), but she eventually withdrew due to sustained political opposition to her. She had been an FCC employee, being Counselor to the FCC Chairman, TOM WHEELER, representing him and the FCC in a variety of public forums around the country.
Sohn was a ‘net neutrality’ pioneer, so it is said, and one of the US’s leading public advocates for open, affordable and democratic communications networks. Sohn was a Fellow at George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
Sohn was a Co-Founder and CEO of PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE, a leading telecommunications, media and technology policy advocacy organization. Public Knowledge funders included: Ford Foundation, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Omidyar Network, AT&T, TikTok, Amazon, Mozilla, Verizon. Board Members in 2023 included Brewster Kahle.
Sohn served at the Ford Foundation as a Project Specialist (Media, Arts and Culture unit).
JONATHAN ZITTRAIN – CFR member and a Forum Fellow of the World Economic Forum, which named him a ‘Young Global Leader’. He wanted Donald Trump to be banned from social media. At the FCC Zittrain was a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence, where he previously chaired the FCC’s Open Internet Advisory Committee. Zittrain performed the first large-scale tests of Internet filtering in China and Saudi Arabia, and as part of the OpenNet Initiative (funded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute) co-edited a series of studies of Internet filtering by national governments. He served as a Trustee of the INTERNET SOCIETY.
The EFF Chairman EMERITUS in 2023 was BRAD TEMPLETON, the founder of ClariNet, the world’s first ‘dot-com’ company. Templeton was a leading speaker/consultant on self-driving cars and member of the early GOOGLE team that developed a self-driving car (now WAYMO). At the SINGULARITY UNIVERSITY (co-founded by Google, the NASA Ames Research Center, and the famous Trans-Humanist and Google employee, RAY KURZWEIL) Templeton was Founding Chair of Computing and Networks.
Templeton was a Director and Senior Fellow of the FORESIGHT INSTITUTE, whose board of advisors included Ray Kurzweil and fellow co-founder of the Singularity University: PETER DIAMANDIS. Other Foresight Board advisors included:
JOHN GILMORE – co-founder of the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation).
Prof. LAWRENCE LESSIG – co-founder of the aforementioned CREATIVE COMMONS. Lessig was a board member of Public Knowledge; the EFF; and FREE PRESS. Lessig has long been known to be a supporter of ‘net neutrality’, so it is said.
Prof. AMORY B. LOVINS – the ‘Einstein of energy efficiency’ and co-founder of the sustainable energy organisation, the ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE. Lovins co-wrote a CLUB OF ROME book, “Factor Four”. In 1971, Lovins wrote about Wales’ endangered Snowdonia National Park in a book commissioned by David Brower, president of Friends of the Earth. Lovins spent a decade as British representative for Friends of the Earth.
PETER SCHWARTZ – ‘scenario planning’ expert; head of scenario planning at the oil giant ROYAL DUTCH/SHELL. At Salesforce.com, he was Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Chief Futures Officer. During the Covid ‘pandemic’, whilst at Salesforce, he gave a video speech about Covid: “Winter 2021 COVID-19 Scenarios to Inform Your Business Decisions”, full of the usual mainstream nonsense. He took the Covid vaccine, so he claimed. Schwartz was co-founder of the GLOBAL BUSINESS NETWORK.
STEWART BRAND – co-founder of the GLOBAL BUSINESS NETWORK; co-founder and president of THE LONG NOW FOUNDATION, of which Peter Schwartz was a board director. BRAND belonged to THE BERGGRUEN INSTITUTE (Directors included Google CEO ERIC SCHMIDT; Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post); REID HOFFMAN (Co-Founder of LinkedIn)).
SOPHIA COPE (SENIOR STAFF ATTORNEY) – advocated for a federal shield law, a warrant-for-content requirement under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and improvements to the Freedom of Information Act.
Cope also worked on the development and launch of the GNI (GLOBAL NETWORK INITIATIVE), launched in 2008, whose members (also funders) included: Google, Meta (Facebook), BT, Microsoft, Verizon, Yahoo, Change.Org.
Whose side is Change.org (petitions platform) on?
GNI in 2023 implemented projects supported by:
The U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL); Government of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and the Ford Foundation.
The GNI 2012 Financial Report said “GNI greatly appreciates support from the MacArthur Foundation and the Open Society Foundations.”
Now let’s look at NET NEUTRALITY (aka Network neutrality).
Generally preferred by ‘left wingers’, so it has been said, net neutrality was publicly desired by the likes of Gigi Sohn, the EFF, Lawrence Lessig, former U.S. President Barack Obama, eBay, Amazon, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, Greenpeace, The Open Society Foundation, Yahoo!
Net Neutrality is the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally, i.e., Internet service providers (ISPs) must treat all Internet communications equally, offering users and online content providers consistent rates irrespective of content, website, platform, application, type of equipment, source address, destination address, or method of communication (i.e., without price discrimination).
Net neutrality in the USA had been a point of conflict between network users and service providers since the 1990s. Much of the conflict over net neutrality arose from how Internet services were classified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the authority of the Communications Act of 1934.
In the years leading up to 2017, the FCC had generally been favorable towards net neutrality, but with the onset of the Republican Presidency of Donald Trump in 2017, and the appointment of Ajit Pai, an opponent of net neutrality, to be chairman of the FCC, the FCC reversed many previous net neutrality rulings. However, he was succeeded as Chair by JESSICA ROSENWORCEL who voiced support for restoring net neutrality. By 2023, when Democrat Joe Biden was US President, net neutrality was back on the agenda, as the FCC announced plans to reinstate landmark net neutrality rules. The announcement followed Democrats taking majority control of the FCC after Anna Gomez was sworn in as a commissioner. The commission had previously been split 2 to 2 on partisan lines from when President Joe Biden took office. Biden signed an executive order in July 2021 that contained several provisions relating to net neutrality, encouraging the FCC to reinstate Barack Obama-era rules in those areas.
Giving a big thumbs up to that change to the FCC was another Net Neutrality supporter (so they say): FREE PRESS, an American advocacy group campaigning for media reform, and of which LAWRENCE LESSIG was a board member.
Free Press boasted on their website:
“Free Press Action’s advocacy paved the way for a historic $65-billion investment in broadband in the infrastructure package that President Biden signed into law in late 2021. A remarkable $14.2 billion of that total was dedicated to the creation of the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which we helped shape.”
“In June , Free Press Co-CEO Craig Aaron attended a White House ceremony where President Biden and Vice President Harris announced $42 billion in funding for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program, which also grew out of the infrastructure bill. This money will help all 50 states build high-speed internet networks in communities that lack access.”
Free Press claimed to combat hate and disinformation:
“Media & Platform Accountability – Hate and disinformation are proliferating on both traditional media and social-media platforms — endangering the lives of people of color, women, the LGBTQIA+ community, immigrants and religious minorities.”
“COMBATING HATE AND DISINFORMATION”
“Since Elon Musk took over Twitter last October, the platform has become a toxic cesspool of hate and disinformation. Musk has instituted mass layoffs, gutted content-moderation rules and reinstated thousands of previously banned accounts. Amid this turmoil, the #StopToxicTwitter coalition, which Free Press helps lead, has notched some important victories. We’ve succeeded in pushing more than half of the platform’s top-1,000 advertisers to stop spending on the platform — a crucial win given that advertising once accounted for 90 percent of Twitter’s revenues. The longer-term impacts of our campaign are still being felt at the company: The New York Times reported in June that U.S. advertising revenue at Twitter was down 59 percent from the year before. Musk blamed the “nonprofits who influence the advertisers.”
“Alongside our allies, we’re also serving as a crucial watchdog, showing how ads from Twitter’s remaining advertisers — like Amazon and Apple — are running adjacent to hateful and deceitful tweets. To highlight these harms we’re using creative campaign tactics — like flying #StopToxicTwitter banners over a Miami advertising convention where Musk gave the keynote address. We’ve shown other platforms that dissent and financial consequences will meet any rollbacks of user protections.”
Leading the way on ‘combatting hate’ at Free Press was their Co-CEO in 2023, JESSICA GONZALEZ.
“Jessica co-led Stop Hate for Profit’s Facebook advertising boycott, which pushed over 1,000 advertisers to drop Facebook in protest of its lax enforcement of rules to stop hate and protect democracy ahead of the 2020 election. The effort forced Facebook to deplatform Q-Anon and showed the tech industry that it will be held accountable for destabilizing democracy. Recently she co-led the Stop Toxic Twitter campaign in response to Elon Musk’s reckless leadership, pushing more than half of Twitter’s main advertisers to leave the platform over his re-platforming of white supremacists and Big Lie conspiracists.”
A Free Press co-founder and President was JOSH SILVER, the founder and executive chairman of Represent.Us, a national campaign to end the undue influence of money in U.S. politics through a passage of comprehensive anti-corruption laws, so they said.
The Represent.Us Board in 2023 included:
Hollywood actress JENNIFER LAWRENCE (pro Biden, anti-Trump);
MICHAEL COPPS (Director Emeritus) – a former FCC commissioner and acting chairman of the FCC.
JON DEVAAN – former Microsoft engineering leader. DeVaan became deeply involved in the political reform movement after retiring from Microsoft in 2013 after 30 years at the company, although later he served as an informal ombudsman, of sorts, to Microsoft when the company navigated a controversy over its political donations before announcing that it would not donate during the 2022 election cycle to members of Congress and other political leaders who supported efforts to overturn the election.
BEN SCOTT – led the technology-policy advisory group for the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign. At LUMINATE (spinoff from the Omidyar Network), he was Policy Director of Luminate Strategic Initiatives. In this capacity he then became the executive director at RESET, an initiative run by LUMINATE in partnership with The Sandler Foundation that focused on tackling digital threats to democracy, so they said.
The Represent.Us Advisory Council in 2023 included:
the great-grandson of US President Roosevelt, THEODORE ROOSEVELT IV – managing director at Barclays Investment Bank. As an ‘environmentalist’, he was co-creator and Chairman of the Barclays’ Clean Tech Initiative. He was a member of the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations).
The Represent.Us Cultural Council in 2023 included Hollywood insiders:
Michael Douglas (Actor); Jennifer Lawrence (Actor); J.J. Abrams Film (Director/Producer); Omar Epps (Actor/Producer); Ed Helms (Actor); Spike Jonze (Film Director/Producer); Jack Black (Actor); Orlando Bloom (Actor); Penelope Cruz (Actress who appeared in a TV advert in 2023 for EMIRATES airline and was an Emirates brand ambassador and a frequent flyer who visited Dubai multiple times).
Now to look at…
Creative Commons, co-created by Lawrence Lessig, is an American non-profit organization and international network devoted to educational access and expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright licenses, known as Creative Commons licenses, free of charge to the public.
Creative Commons was built with and sustained by the support of organizations including The Rockefeller Foundation, Omidyar Network, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
The Creative Commons advisory council in 2023 included:
JIMMY WALES – The co-founder of WIKIPEDIA. In 2015, Wales was committee chair for Democrat Lawrence Lessig’s 2016 presidential campaign. Wales married Tony Blair’s former diary secretary, Kate Garvey.
ESTHER WOJCICKI (the council’s Vice Chair and former Chair) – the mother-in-law of Google co-founder SERGEY BRIN. Wojcicki’s husband STANLEY worked at STANFORD UNIVERSITY (Physics Professor) where Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page had developed Google. Wojcicki’s daughter SUSAN became involved in the creation of Google when she rented out her garage as an office to the company’s founders. Susan was Google’s first marketing manager, and later led the company’s online advertising business and original video service. After observing the success of YouTube, Susan suggested that Google should buy it, and later was appointed CEO of YouTube.
RYLAN MERKLEY – the Chief of Staff at WIKIMEDIA FOUNDATION (hosts Wikipedia). He was CEO at Creative Commons from 2014 to 2019. Prior to joining CC, Ryan was Chief Operating Officer of MOZILLA, which had created the FIREFOX web browser.
The CEO of Creative Commons in 2023 was CATHERINE STIHLER (OBE), a former Scottish politician. After leaving the European Parliament, she served as CEO of the aforementioned OKF (Open Knowledge Foundation).
So….let’s peek more at the OKF, which has connections to the ORG.
OKF Funders included Omidyar Network; Wellcome Trust; William & Flora Hewlett Foundation.
The OKF CEO in 2023 was RENATA AVILA, who was on the Creative Commons advisory council. Avila was part of the WEF Expert Network on Digital Technologies.
An OKF board member was BECKY HOGGE, the first full-time executive director of the ORG. During her time with openDemocracy Hogge helped establish the aforementioned China environment website chinadialogue.net, along with the aforementioned editor Isabel Hilton.
The OKF was founded by RUFUS POLLOCK, who co-founded ORG and was appointed by the UK government as one of the 4 founding members of its’ Public Sector Transparency Board, established by the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, to drive forward the UK Government’s transparency agenda. In 2015, that Transparency Board’s functions were taken over by the Government’s Data Steering Group.
The Data Steering Group members included:
the controversial Tory Minister MATT HANCOCK (Health Secretary during the Covid pandemic);
MARTIN TISNE – OKF Board Observer and a member of the UK Government’s AI Council.
Tisne led Omidyar Network’s work on Data & Digital Rights, then moved onto Luminate where he was Vice President of Luminate Strategic Initiatives, leading their work to address global digital threats.
Tisne helped initiate the G8 Countries’ ODC (Open Data Charter), then did similar work by helping to start the INTERNATIONAL ODC (launched at the margins of the 2015 UN General Assembly. Tisne served as the Lead Steward at the ODC). The International ODC was endorsed by the OKF, Luminate, World Bank Group, and World Resources Institute.
Tisne worked on the G20 countries’ commitment to open data principles.
Tisne founded and was co-chair of the TAI (Transparency and Accountability Initiative) – a donor collaborative bringing together the world’s largest funders of ‘open government’.
TAI members – Ford Foundation, Luminate, FCDO (UK Govt’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office), The Open Society Foundations, The Skoll Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, USAID (the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results).
At the TAI, and working alongside the President Obama White House, Tisne helped start the OGP (Open Government Partnership) and helped it to grow to a 70+ country initiative.
OGP funders – US Department of State, European Union, FCDO, USAID, Bloomberg Foundation, Ford Foundation, Luminate Group, Open Society Foundations.
OGP Ambassadors included:
HELEN CLARK – ex-Prime Minister of New Zealand; Administrator of the UN Development Program (UNDP) from 2009-2017. In 2023, Clark co-chaired the WHO’s Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. At CHATHAM HOUSE (RIIA) in 2023, she was one of its 3 Presidents.
SIR MOHAMMED IBRAHIM (KCMG) – a Sudanese-British billionaire businessman listed by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Ibrahim set up the MO IBRAHIM FOUNDATION to encourage better governance in Africa, supposedly. Ibrahim was a Commissioner of a UN initiative: the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which aimed to spread the full benefits of broadband services to unconnected peoples.
Ibrahim received multiple awards, including: the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award; and the Clinton Global Citizen Award.
Mo Ibrahim Foundation Board members in 2023 –
PASCAL LAMY – Director General of the WTO (World Trade Organization).
MARY ROBINSON – ex-President of Ireland; CLUB OF MADRID member; the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Chair of THE ELDERS. Robinson also served as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa, on Climate Change, and on El Niño and Climate.
Mo Ibrahim Foundation Partners in 2023 –
SOAS (University of London); Club of Madrid; Kofi Annan Foundation; UN Economic Commission for Africa.
Ibrahim was amongst the inaugural team leaders of Richard Branson’s co-founded THE B TEAM. Other B Team leaders included:
Mary Robinson (see above);
KATHY CALVIN – President and CEO of the UN FOUNDATION;
GRO HARLEM BRUNDTLAND – ex-Prime Minister of Norway; WHO Director-General; Deputy Chair of The Elders;
CHRISTINA FIGUERES – Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); member of the Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health. Figueres was a WORLD BANK Climate Leader.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON – co-founder of The Huffington Post; the founder and CEO of THRIVE GLOBAL.
RATAN TATA – chairman of the Tata Group.
Mo Ibrahim belonged to the CFR (on its’ Global Board of Advisors) and to Bono’s co-founded ONE charity (a Board Director).
Ibrahim served at the WORLD BANK’s ID4D (Advisory Council Member), which focused on promoting digital identification systems to improve development outcomes while maintaining trust and privacy, so they said. The ID4D Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) was established with contributions from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, followed by the UK Government (UK AID), the French Government, NORAD and the Omidyar Network.
Ibrahim was an Honorary Chair at the WORLD JUSTICE PROJECT. Their annual World Justice Forum in 2022 had Supporting Partners that included the OGP; Club of Madrid; The Elders; The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).
Now for a few more details on PI (PRIVACY INTERNATIONAL).
PI co-founder Simon Davies received the EFF’s Pioneer Award for his contribution to online freedom.
PI Trustees in 2023 included:
BEN WIZNER – the principal legal advisor to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
SUE GARDNER – a long-time advocate for a free and open internet. She was the Executive Director of the WIKIMEDIA FOUNDATION (hosts Wikipedia) and she ran the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s website and online news outlets. Gardner was named by the WEF as one of their ‘Technology Pioneers’.
PI Trustee Emeritus – BARRY STEINHARDT – ex-President and CEO of the EFF.
Expanding on the BBW’s campaign in October 2023, they wrote:
“65 parliamentarians call for “immediate stop” to live facial recognition surveillance.”
“MPs across parties including David Davis MP, Sir Ed Davey MP, Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, Joanna Cherry KC MP and Caroline Lucas MP call for an urgent stop to face surveillance.”
“The call is backed by 31 rights and race quality groups including Big Brother Watch, Liberty, Amnesty International and the Race Equality Foundation.”
“Earlier this week the Policing Minister revealed plans to make all 45 million passport photos searchable with police facial recognition for minor crime.”
1. David Davis – Tory MP and BBW supporter.
2. Diane Abbott – Labour MP and ex-Shadow Home Secretary.
4. Ed Davey – Leader of the Liberal Democrats since 2019
7. Tim Farron – Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2015 to 2017.
11. Caroline Lucas – ex-leader of the Green Party.
14. Valerie Vaz – Labour MP and sister of Keith Vaz, the latter serving as the Minister for Europe. Keith Vaz was appointed a member of the Privy Council in June 2006. He was Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee from July 2007, but resigned from this role on 6 September 2016 after the Sunday Mirror revealed he had engaged in unprotected sexual activity with male prostitutes and had said he would pay for cocaine if they wished to use it.
40. Lord Strasburger – BBW Chairman.
41. Lord Clement-Jones (CBE) – Speaker on AI and Creative Industries (UK, China, Middle East). Clement-Jones was chairman of the Liberal Party from 1986 to 1988.
Lord Clement-Jones was Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence (2017-18) and was Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence. He is Deputy Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on China and Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Digital Regulation, The Future of Work, Music, Performers Alliance, Publishing, Writers and Intellectual Property.
43. Baroness Shami Chakrabarti
58. Lord Oates – a British Liberal Democrat politician and member of the House of Lords. A past Chief of Staff to the former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nick Clegg. After the formation of the coalition government, Oates was appointed deputy communications adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron and in August 2010 became Chief of Staff to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
63. Lord Skidelsky (Robert Jacob Alexander) – a British economic historian. Skidelsky wrote a long running column for PROJECT SYNDICATE, an international media organization that received grants from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates also wrote articles for Project Syndicate.
Skidelsky was the first Chairman of a centrist think-tank, the SOCIAL MARKET FOUNDATION, formed primarily as a vehicle for the ‘social market’ economic ideas of his longstanding friend and political ally LORD OWEN (DAVID OWEN), who was one of the Foundation’s trustees upon its launch.
Skidelsky had business links to Russia. He was a director on the board of the Russian state-owned company Rusnano Capital. After Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, Skidelsky declined to resign from Rusnano, and criticised sanctions that targeted Russia, and argued that the Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine should be given an opportunity to separate from Ukraine. Skidelsky was a non-executive director on the board of Russian oil company Russneft. He was a director at Moscow based SISTEMA, with close ties to the Kremlin.
David Owen and Peter Mandelson also had paid links to Russia.
The BBW campaign signatories also included Rights, race equality and technology organisations such as:
2. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL – its’ Secretary General in 2023 was Dr Agnès Callamard, who was appointed as the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary killings. Previously she was Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.
3. ARTICLE 19 – an international human rights organisation that works to defend and promote freedom of expression and freedom of information worldwide, supposedly. The organisation takes its name from Article 19 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.”
Not too surprisingly, Article 19 (the organization) works with the UN. They wrote: “ARTICLE 19 shapes and ensures support for standard-setting initiatives on freedom of expression at the UN, informing our advocacy through the local and national human rights priorities of our regional offices and partners. We leverage various UN human rights mechanisms to hold states to account for freedom of expression violations. This includes through the UNGA and HRC, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UN special procedures, in particular the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, the treaty bodies, and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism. In turn, our national advocacy work uses the obligations and commitments of States’ at the UN to drive local change.”
Article 19 was founded by 3 men:
JOHN RODERICK MACARTHUR – son of one of America’s richest businessmen, JOHN D. MACARTHUR, the latter a ‘philanthropist’ who created the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in his will, to which his son became a board member.
ARYEH NEIER – the president of George Soros’s Open Society Institute; co-founded HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH.
MARTIN ENNALS – the secretary-general of Amnesty International; worked for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation); secretary general of the precursor to Liberty: the NCCL (National Council for Civil Liberties); the first secretary general of INTERNATIONAL ALERT.
ARTICLE 19 funders in 2023 included:
DFID (UK Department for International Development);
UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO);
USAID (United States Agency for International Development);
Open Society Foundations;
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation;
National Endowment for Democracy.
ARTICLE 19 was a founding member of IFEX (International Freedom of Expression Exchange), a global network of non-governmental organisations that monitor free expression violations worldwide. IFEX members included: the EFF, IOC, PEN International; PI.
Article 19 International Board of Trustees in 2023 included:
DAVID KAYE (CFR member) – formerly the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. At the GNI (Global Network Initiative), Kaye was Independent Chair of the Board. Kaye began his legal career with the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser.
DAVID VINEY – PI board member.
11. Netpol (Network for Police Monitoring) – difficult to get info on its’ management, but its’ coordinator in 2020 at least, KEVIN BLOWE, wrote 2 articles for “The Guardian”.
12. ORG (Open Rights Group)
13. PI (Privacy International)
16. RUNNYMEDE TRUST – challenges racial inequality. It was co-founded by LORD LESTER (Anthony Lester), ex-chair of the Fabian Society and a special adviser to Roy Jenkins at the Home Office in the 1970s, and he moved with Jenkins from the Labour Party to start Jenkin’s Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1981.
An ex-Chair of the Runnymede Trust was Trevor Phillips (1993–1998).
Chair in 2023 of the Runnymede Trust’s board of trustees was Sir Clive Jones (CBE) who was CEO of Central Television and then the Carlton Television Group, before taking Carlton into the merger with Granada to create ITV plc. Jones was Managing Director of the ITV Network and Chairman of GMTV.
25. PUBLIC LAW PROJECT – Its’ trustees in 2023 included:
MARK WOOD – Former Editor-in-Chief of REUTERS and ex-Chair and CEO of ITN, the mainstream UK news broadcaster. Hood was Chair of NOMINET, an internet company best known for running the flagship “.UK” domain name registry, relied upon by over 3.75 million businesses every day.
ANDREW HOOD – spent 13 years as a UK government legal and policy adviser. Hood spent his last two years in Government as the Head of International and EU Law at the Attorney General’s Office and as the first General Counsel to the Prime Minister, working under David Cameron.
SARAH BURTON – worked for Greenpeace both in the UK and globally for over 20 years and created their legal strategy. At Amnesty International she was the International Campaign Director.
28. ACCESS NOW – a non-profit organization founded to defend and extend the digital civil rights of people around the world, supposedly. They wrote: “Access Now was granted special consultative status at the United Nations — as accredited by the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) — in 2016. Access Now routinely uses its status to actively engage the U.N.’s principal organs, programmes, and agencies.”
Access Now major funders included Facebook/Meta, Global Affairs Canada, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They collaborated with EDRi, EFF, Amnesty International.
“Access Now’s 24/7 Digital Security Helpline is the first civil society-focused CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team) to have been accepted as a full member of the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST). Founded in 1990, FIRST is a recognized global leader in incident response, bringing together a wide variety of security and incident response teams and experts from government, academic, and commercial sectors around the world.”
The Access Now co-founder and Executive Director in 2023 was BRETT SOLOMON who represented Access Now at the United Nations and at Davos (WEF) and has been often quoted in the media including in the New York Times and on the BBC. He has given two TED Talks, on digital democracy and on the right to peaceful protest. He was a member of the WEF’s Global Future Council on Data Policy and Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Internet. Before Access Now, Brett worked at Oxfam Australia, and Amnesty International Australia.
Brett Solomon was the founder of “RightsCon”, the world’s leading annual summit on human rights in the digital age, which every year convenes thousands of experts, activists, technologists, and leaders from government, the private sector, and civil society.
In 2022 – Its’ sponsors included very familiar names: Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook/Meta, Twitter/X, Google, Wikimedia Foundation, Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network, ICANN, Verizon, Cloudflare, Internet Society, Mozilla, Zoom, Reddit.
The “RightsCon Studio” in 2022 hosted its’ first ever head of government, the then New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern.
The RightsCon Programming Committee in 2014 included:
LEE HIBBARD – Coordinator of the Internet Policy of the COUNCIL OF EUROPE, an official UN Observer but NOT a European Union entity. It is an international organization comprising 47 countries, set up to promote democracy and protect human rights and the rule of law in Europe. The best-known body of the Council of Europe is the European Court of Human Rights.
Hibbard facilitated public policy on a range of issues, including human rights for internet service providers, network neutrality, freedom of expression on the internet, and the empowerment and protection of children online, so it is said. At the content level, Hibbard facilitated the Council of Europe’s Internet Governance Strategy 2016-2019.
Hibbard co-wrote a report on children and the internet that was jointly published by CHATHAM HOUSE (RIIA) and CIGI (Centre for International Governance Innovation):
“Education 3.0 and Internet Governance: A New Global Alliance for Children and Young People’s Sustainable Digital Development” (Divina Frau-Meigs, Lee Hibbard; Series: Global Commission on Internet Governance Paper Series; March 11, 2016).
CIGI partners included Omidyar Network and INET (Institute for New Economic Thinking).
RIIA and CIGI initiated the “Global Commission on Internet Governance” in 2014 to advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance. Chaired by the ex-PM of Sweden, CARL BILDT, the commission was made up of 29 members drawn from various fields and from around the world, including policy and government, academia and civil society.
Carl Bildt attended numerous annual BILDERBERG meetings and consequently was an interviewee for the film documentary “Bilderberg: The Movie”. He was the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to Bosnia. During the Covid ‘pandemic’, Bildt was appointed by the WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus to be the WHO Special Envoy for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.
Bildt belonged to numerous other influential organisations:
Trilateral Commission (A Deputy Chair);
Club de Madrid (Member);
ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations) (Co-Chair);
RAND Corporation (Member of the Board of Trustees);
Berggruen Institute (Member of the Berggruen Network);
IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies) (Member of the Council).
Bildt wrote monthly columns for Project Syndicate.
Now, it’s back to BBW’s list of supporters of its’ campaign. Nearly finished!
30. IOC (Index on Censorship)
31. HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH –
in 2023, the HRW Executive Director was TIRANA HASSAN who served as director of Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Program. Hassan worked for UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) and Save the Children, amongst others.
2023 HRW Board of Directors –
ROBERTO DANINO (Regional Advisor, Goldman Sachs) – served as Prime Minister of Perú; Ambassador to the United States, and Senior Vice President and General Counsel of The World Bank.
HRW was co-founded by 3 New York Jews: ROBERT L. BERNSTEIN, JERI LABER AND ARYEH NEIER.
ARYEH NEIER – the president of George Soros’s Open Society Institute; Article 19 co-founder.
Robert Bernstein – influential figure in American publishing, heading the publishers RANDOM HOUSE for 25 years. Bernstein, working with MCGEORGE BUNDY (President of the Ford Foundation and National Security Adviser to President J.F. Kennedy) and with the US Ambassador to the UN, ARTHUR GOLDBERG (Jewish, CFR), founded Helsinki Watch, the precursor to HRW. At HRW, Bernstein served as Chair for 20 years, until 1998, and remained active as Founding Chair Emeritus, till his death in 2023.
JERI LABER (CFR)- member of Amnesty International, IOC (member of board). Laber received the Order of Merit from Vaclav Havel on behalf of the Czech Republic. Laber received the prestigious MacArthur “genius” grant.
Former HRW Board chairs –
JAMES F. HOGE Jr. (2010-2013) – longtime editor of the CFR’s journal “Foreign Affairs” (1992-2010). Hoge was former publisher of two tabloid newspapers – The Chicago-Sun-Times, and The New York Daily News.
JONATHAN F. FANTON (1998-2003) – Former President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; an Advisory Trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
End of the BBW’s list. At last!
The former Tory Prime Minister, David Cameron, unexpectedly returned to government in November 2023 as Foreign Secretary.
The FCC, in November 2023, voted 3-2 in favor of taking control of the Internet despite internal opposition.
“The decision means that the Biden Administration is well on its way to implementing the plan that FCC commissioner Brendan Carr said “…reads like a planning document drawn up in the faculty lounge of a university’s Soviet Studies Department.” Commissioner Carr sent out his letter of dissent last week to warn the public about this “unlawful power grab” that “chooses central planning over free market capitalism.””
“The plan is marketed as though it will prevent digital discrimination and a way to ensure equal access to broadband internet in the United States. While equal access is a component of liberty and freedom, this plan gives sweeping access and regulatory control over all aspects of the Internet business. According to the plan document, the FCC would have the power to regulate the following aspects as it relates to each Internet Service Provider.”