Ireland: There’s been some discussion about ‘an Irish EFF’ recently, reminding me of the old days of Electronic Frontier Ireland in the 1990s.
I was reminded of this by Danny O’Brien’s article in The Guardian, where he notes an interesting point — half of the effectiveness of the EFF in the US, is because they have a few full-time people sitting in an office, answering phone calls. Essentially they act as a human PBX, being the go-to guy connecting journalists to activists and experts.
Now that is something that could really work, and is needed in Ireland, which is in the same boat as the UK in this respect; the journalists don’t know who to ask for a reliable opposing opinion when the BSA, ICT Ireland, or the IRMA put out incorrect statements. It has to be someone who’s always available for a quote at the drop of a hat, over the phone. From experience, this takes dedication — and without getting paid for it, it’s hard to keep the motivation going.
IrelandOffline have done it pretty well for the telecoms issue; ICTE have done a brilliant job, the best I’ve seen in Europe IMO, of grabbing hold of the e-voting issue to the stage where they own it; but for online privacy, software patenting, and other high-tech-meets-society issues, there’s nobody doing it that successfully.
(Update: added ICTE, slipped my mind! Sorry Colm!)