STAND.ORG.UK @dopt an MP
CAMPAIGNING FOR SAFE E-COMMERCE LEGISLATION
Who are you lot?
We'd love to tell you that we're a terrifyingly well-organised political strike force, whose members have years of political experience fighting injustice in the jungles of South America. But we'd be lying.
Actually, we're about thirty or so individuals (of various political hues), who happen to spend enough time on the Net to worry about it being ruined by a bunch of ... well-meaning... bureaucrats.
If you want to probe us for more details, you can find a list of e-mail addresses and home pages at the bottom of this page.
Why are you doing this?
Because we genuinely think that having an informed political infrastructure helps prevent idiocies in technological policy. We don't think this law makes any sense. We wanted to impress on as many people as possible how deeply Net users feel on this topic. Oh, and we knew how to hack up a database of MPs.
What am I going to be asked to do?
You want us to reveal our secret plans? Oh, all right.
About six months ago, we naively telephoned a bunch of professional pressure groups and asked: how do you stop dumb legislation? They said, well, what you don't do is to drown politicians in rabid letter-writing and enormous piles of signatures. It is the parliamentary equivalent of spam: politicians route around it. Instead, you should get one key letter to each MP - from a constituent - calmly explaining the issues. After that, other voters can write a simple postcard, saying "I agree with Mr Foo's communication of the 18th of Bar". That gently lets a sizeable proportion of the body politic know that a lot of sensible, knowledgeable, voting types are worried.
The core of the @doption campaign is helping constituents to organise those letters.
Because the Government have yet to release their crypto proposals in any detail (even though in the last public statement, the DTI stated that they wanted responses back by the 14th December 1998!), we're holding off on telling people to send that initial letter straight away. Once the proposals are public, we'll do our best to disseminate the details and ramifications of its contents, so that @doptors can decide for themselves how to write to their MP. Then we'll make sure any new @doptees get the right values of Foo and Bar for follow-up postcards.
That's it. We're working on some fun technology to help make all of this easier, but that's the dull truth.
We thought that if you'd read this far, you could probably take it without all the sound-bites and rhetoric.
What's the fun technology?
Oh come on - you want some surprises, don't you?
Are you going to spam me?
Yeah, right. That'll help the cause no end.
Seriously, you will receive an e-mail when we add new information to the site, when the proposals are released, or the political situation changes, or your MP does something utterly marvellous or mind-bogglingly stupid. But both we and the parliamentary system work very slowly, so don't expect much. Once a week would be an startling intense period of activity.
If your MP has a large number of fellow @doptors, you might get an invite to be on a local, private discussion list. If you join that, you may receive more e-mails, but that's really up to you and your fellow citizens. We'll just supply the tech.
Unsubscribing from any announcement list will be obvious. If you have any problems, e-mail us at email@example.com if you have any problems.
(We've got a horrible suspicion that we'll get more spam from putting our e-mail addresses here on this page than you'll ever get from us.)
I don't really understand this crypto stuff - is it really as bad as you say?
Well, we would say this, but yes, we think so. Cryptography is a complex, technical subject and information on it can quickly get bogged down in esoteric mathematica, but we hope that if you spend a little time sniffing around our external links, you'll get a feel for the social impact of crypto controls. Don't be afraid to ask if you're confused: if you are, then someone else will be, and we should do our best to help both of you. We're not crypto geniuses, but we know people who are, and we spend a lot of time pestering them until even we understand. Ask away.
Are there any arguments for the new legislation?
No! Or at least, we've yet to hear one that doesn't fall apart after the briefest consideration. We mean this: if someone can supply us with some documents that support the new law, we'll be happy to link to it. From the front page.
Then why is this government trying to pass this law?
We wish we knew. A lot of people whose opinions we respect say that the government is bowing to pressure from the secret services, who want to encourage technology that would let them remotely monitor commercial and personal traffic without legal controls. It's true that this would be one of the effects of a government-supported key escrow regime. But that's by-the-by. The proposals are stupid entirely on their own merits, without this unpleasant justification.
Are you connected to any political party?
Nope. Malcolm has been instrumental in running CACIB for a while, which is a non-partisan anti-censorship group. Danny thought about joining the Labour Party the day after the last election, then went off the idea when they threatened to throw out the Downing Street cat and has never trusted them since. And Tom claims to have been sick in the back of Shirley Williams' car. But that's about it.
We're so single issue it hurts.
Nick Buckley firstname.lastname@example.org
James Cronin email@example.com
Yoz Grahame firstname.lastname@example.org
Cait Hurley email@example.com
Malcolm Hutty firstname.lastname@example.org
Manar Hussain email@example.com
Tom Loosemore firstname.lastname@example.org
Stefan Magdalinski email@example.com
Dorian Moore firstname.lastname@example.org
Danny O'Brien email@example.com
Phillip Temple firstname.lastname@example.org
Stuart Tily email@example.com
Alaric Williams firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I join in?
Please. Let us know if you'd like to do more than @dopt your MP. We're at email@example.com As ever.
What does STAND stand for?
It stands for itself.
Our Guide to RIP
Fax your MP
Operation Dear Jack
Select Committee submission
Adopt Your MP