As the many recent data hacks and Government surveillance leaks have demonstrated, our data is not secure, and the privacy of the individual is under threat. Privacy and the protection of our personal data will no doubt be one of the defining issues of the 21st Century, as it becomes more and more difficult for the public to trust in companies and Governments to keep our data secure and private.
SpunOut.ie are proud to partner with privacy activist Tommy Collison to run a workshop -- or Crypto-party -- where participants will be invited to bring along laptops and other mobile devices to learn how to use basic encrpytion tools and to discuss wider privacy issues. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, 7th January 2015 from 7pm - 9pm at SpunOut.ie's offices in Temple Bar, Dublin 2. Entry is free, but registration is required.
Whether you're browsing the Internet, or communicating with a loved one, privacy is a fundamental human right and it's a non-negotiable requirement for a functional democracy. Journalists need it to protect their sources, activists working under repressive regimes need it to make their voices heard, and ordinary citizens should be able to keep their professional and medical info secure.
The workshop is open to SpunOut.ie writers, readers and the general public. It will focus on the basic encryption tools we can all use to protect our privacy and will also look at privacy in the role of the journalist. Participants will learn about anonymous browsing, encrypted hard-drives and e-mails. We'll also talk about global surveillance and why a desire for privacy isn't inherently suspicious. The event is limited to 20 participants.
Register for the workshop now:
Tommy Collison is an activist and writer who explores privacy and the future of journalism in a post-Snowden world. Tommy is enrolled in New York University and runs events where fellow media activists, writers, and journalists learn how to use encryption and privacy tools.
SpunOut.ie and I (Tommy Collison) are dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.
All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate. Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down others. Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate. Attendees violating these rules may be asked to leave at the sole discretion of the event organizers. Thank you for helping make this a welcoming, friendly event for all. (Adapted from PyCon's Code of Conduct.)
Image Credit: Victor Jeffreys II
Around the world, young people don’t really have the best reputation for turning out to vote. Elections and referendums are vital opportunities for a population to voice their approval of, or disagreement with, what’s going on in a country. While Ireland’ overall turnout figures are pretty darn good in an international context, it’s been a more difficult battle to get younger generations to have their say on such important issues. That said, it’s a situation that’s very gradually improving.
If you’re over 18 and are a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, you’re eligible to vote in any referendums and elections that take place here. However, figures released by the National Youth Council of Ireland earlier this year showed that 30% of 18-25 year-olds aren’t even registered to vote. Worse still, when you look at the 18-21 age group, the figure jumps up to 43%- that’s nearly half of potential voters under 21 who have absolutely no say in how their country is governed.
As part of National Voter Registration Day, SpunOut.ie, in conjunction with the Union of Students in Ireland, are launching a campaign to get as many young people registered to vote in next year’s referendums as possible ahead of the November 25th deadline. We’ll talk you through all the details on the registration form, and we’ll even send it off for you when you’re finished, as well as providing you with helpful voting info ahead of polling days. If you’d like to learn more about the campaign, just click here and get registering!
Ever heard of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps? Every year, many young Irish people between the ages of 10 and 16 join the ranks of the voluntary organisation as Cadets.
These Cadets become actively involved in the community helping vulnerable groups like the elderly and people with disabilities, but they're also trained in basic like saving skills including First Aid, CPR and Home Nursing.
Having those skills can make a huge difference to their own lives too. Just ask 16-year-old Ballinrobe girl Eimear Morrin. She used them to save her mother's life.
Eimear was at home and came downstairs to discover her mother lying unconscious in the kitchen. She'd had a brain aneurysm and wasn't in a good way but, thanks to her daughter's quick thinking, she survived.
"I knew straight away to open her airways and checked her pulse and we were able to perform CPR, which I had learned through the training", she explains. "Never underestimate the value of getting the Order of Malta."
Eimear is just one of the many Cadets who've gained invaluable skills through the Order of Malta training and she's now become something of a mascot for their organisation. Her story has been entered into the Better Together video awards in the hopes of raising awareness about what the organisation does and encouraging more young people to follow in her footsteps.
You can vote for her story here.
For more information on The Order of Malta be sure to check out their official website.
If you’ve got an interest in highlighting young people’s mental health-related issues through film, you’ve got exactly three months to perfect your masterpiece for the CAST 2014/5 Film Festival.
Submissions for completed projects close on January 15, 2015, so now’s the perfect time to encourage your mates from school, college or the youth club to get filming! According to the organisers, the festival is a “call to action” for youth groups, and they want to get schools and youth organisations to produce films that “shed light on a social issue”, and offer potential solutions to the issue mentioned.
The application criteria are pretty broad, which means that your film can be a documentary, a work of fiction, or a “visually creative film” as you see fit. It should look to highlight relevant resources available in your local area, and it must:
The event itself is great fun, and it’s gone from strength to strength in recent years. Last year’s festival showcased 15 short films, and was attended by the now Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald. Tickets are expected to be around €18, and that includes a two-course meal along with a souvenir red carpet photo. If you fancy yourself to be an aspiring Steven Spielberg with a great idea to publicise, get entering by clicking here.
Comhairle na nÓg have put together this brilliant little film all about Children’s Rights. If you’re under 18, all the rights described in this video apply to you, as laid out by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The video features loads of young people acting out the rights laid out by the convention. It’s really funny, and even more informative.
Speaking of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is 25 years old this year, and has been protecting children and young people all over the world since November 1989. It was brought into effect in Ireland in September 1992.
For more information on Comhairle na nÓg, check out their website here. For more details on your rights as laid out by this convention, The Office of the Children’s Ombudsman have launched this amazingly handy little app called ItsYourRight, which compiles all your rights as granted by the UN in one handy location on your phone or iPad. Cool, right?
Check out these motivational TED talks from 5 women who are making their mark on the world in different ways.
Sheryl Sandberg is Chief operating officer of Facebook and author of the best-selling Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. In her motivational TED Talk, Sandberg delivers the distressing facts about women in business. She shares her three pieces of advice on how to become a leader. Sandberg concludes with the hope that through activism and the recognition of our potential and capabilities, women will one day even out the top.
Leymah Gbowee is a peace and women rights activist, leader of women’s movement that contributed to the end of the Liberian Civil War in 2003, and Nobel Peace Prize Winner of 2011. Gbowee relates her experiences traveling her home of Liberia, interacting with young women who strive for and are denied their right to education, or are abused in exchange for education. She presses the importance of the potential of girls, and what this potential can create.
Sarah Kay is creator of Project VOICE, poet, teacher, and best-selling author. The mission behind Project VOICE is to entertain, inspire, and educate through spoken word poetry. Kay began the inklings of this mission when she was a teenager. Now, Kay travels using spoken word poetry to empower her students, to get them to release their voice, and to share her own story.
Sylvia Earle is a marine biologist, author, and oceanographer. A renowned oceanographer and academic in her profession, Earle led the first team of all women to explore the ocean in 1970. She has dedicated thousands of hours to underwater ocean exploration, and to preserving ocean life. Her passion and commitment has driven her to educate on the importance of the ocean, and to deliver informational speeches on the harms being caused to it. This is the basis of her prize-winning TED speech. Earle shares her discoveries, and technological advancements underwater. She delivers a call for a proactive approach in protecting this imperative piece of our planet’s ecosystem.
May El-Khalil is founder of the Beirut International Marathon. “I believe that running can change the world”: this is how she begins her TED Speech on what drove her to create an annual running marathon in Beirut. Her country has suffered from a history of violence and division, and with the belief that running could bring unity, El-Khalil campaigned around the country talking to people from housewives to political officials, educating them on marathon running. Since the first marathon, participants have continued to grow. In 2013 the first all-women run for empowerment, in Lebanon, was held. Despite the continued divisions in Lebanon, El-Khalil’s marathon has continued to bring her people together.
Are you registered to vote? Some of you may know the answer; others won't. First off, see if you're on the register of electors here. If you're registered, great. If not, don't worry! We'll guide you through it.
The annual electoral register deadline is in November each year, this year the date is the 25th of November for all new voters and those looking to change their details.
That gives you a while to get your name down on that list before the deadline ahead of what is going to be a very busy year of voting in 2015, with referendums proposed on marriage, reducing the voting age and others.
Once this is done, your details will be added to the Register of Electors and you'll be able to vote in local, national and European elections as well as referendums (once you're eligible- just check out the details below).
If you are already on the voting register but you have moved address or need to change some details, just fill in this form and send it off as above.
If you're over 18 and an Irish citizen, you're sorted. You can vote for any person in any election for as long as you live in Ireland! If you don't meet those criteria, things can be a tad more difficult. Fear not, though, you still might be eligible to vote!
If you're a non-Irish citizen and want to vote in the elections here, you'll need to be an Irish resident since at least September of last year and, of course, be over 18. You'll still need to register, though, so make sure you fit at least one of these criteria and get yourself the right form and get your name down on that list!
SpunOut.ie and the Union of Students in Ireland are joining forces on National Voter Registration Day, which takes place on Thursday October 30th, to get as many students and young people as possible to sign up to vote ahead of next year's referendums. If you'd be interested in helping, take a look at our volunteer pack below. You can take it to your college campus on the day and help your fellow students get registering!
Check out our factsheets and opinion pieces on engaging in society. This is a key area that the SpunOut Action Panel has prioritised for 2013.
Tips to help you take action and make a positive difference.
Ireland is a democracy, which means the people elect their representatives and government by means of secret ballot.
Joining a political party means that you are registering with a political party and letting them and the world know that you generally support their causes and activates.
One SpunOutter gives her opinions on whether the voting age should be lowered to 16.
Ireland is a constitutional democracy (you’ve lost me already SpunOut!). Well, this basically means that we get to have a say in who runs our country and what the laws of the land are.
The Know Your Rights information packs are provided by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL). They are a series of booklets designed to inform people about their rights, which the ICCL has rolled out as part of its Know Your Rights public information project. The booklet is designed to inform the general public, in clear and accessible language, of their rights in the areas of Garda search powers, arrest, interview, detention, provision of bodily samples and public order.
The State gets its power from the people of Ireland through the Constitution of Ireland (Bunreacht na hÉireann). The Constitution sets out some of the rights of people who live in Ireland. We also have rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). All agents of the State, including An Garda Síochána, must act in line with the Constitution and the ECHR.
The Constitution is interpreted by the courts and is supplemented by more detailed laws, which must also be in line with the Constitution. The law must also follow the ECHR and its decisions. Gardaí must act according to court rulings and legislation, otherwise they may be breaking the law.
If you have any doubts about the way you have been treated by the Gardaí, or if they have interfered with any of your rights, you should contact a solicitor.
A lot of us tend to spend a little bit too much time on social media. This can affect your life in a number of ways. You might find that it’s taking up too much of your time and affecting your work or studying, or you might be spending less face-to-face time with mates, because you’re too busy chatting to them online. Well, there’s a new campaign who thinks it’s time we take a step back from social media, and re-think our relationship with Facebook.
The FacebookFreeFebruary campaign challenges you to leave Facebook for the whole month of February. They reckon that by abstaining from Facebook for a period of time, we’ll be in a better position to see how it really affects our lives, and be able to make better decisions around how we engage with it.
There are so many things you could get up to while off Facebook, such as spend more time with you friends, take up a hobby, read more, and spend more time outside. You might be surprised by the amount of time you’ll free up by deactivating your Facebook.
You don’t have to do it for the whole month - maybe even just a week. The campaign urges you to try it out and see how you feel. The people behind the campaign believe plugging out of social media is a great opportunity to reconnect with yourself. You can encourage mates to do it with you, and maybe put a wager down amongst yourselves.
Pink sloganed tshirts and smiling faces greeted attendees at yesterday's USI campaign launch for a yes vote in the upcoming marriage equality referendum. USI president Laura Harmon and the vice president Annie Hoey welcomed the representatives of student unions from around the country who had made their way to Dublin for the launch.
Laura acknowledged that there were probably young LGBT people in Ireland today that would have liked to have attended the launch but were not yet comfortable with their sexuality. According to the president, being unable to obtain the same marriage rights as their heterosexual counterparts makes LGBT citizens feel less welcome in society and this cannot continue.
The USI has been advocating for the rights and equal treatment of LGBT in Ireland since the 70s and sees the marriage referendum as the last hurdle. Through opinion polls and campus surveys they have discovered that 90% of the student population are in favour of marriage equality. Considering this vast majority, they believe that the student vote will be vital for the “Yes” side, but the USI is adamant that young people in Ireland do not get complacent and just expect others to vote “Yes”. They are encouraging students to talk to their family and friends and explain to them why a “Yes” vote is important. To emphasise this, the USI invited young LGBT people to their campaign launch to speak about their experiences and what marriage equality would mean to them personally.
A young couple took to the podium and explained why a yes vote in the referendum was important to them. Amy proposed to Catherine last year and since their engagement they have attended weddings, thought about dresses and wistfully dreamt about their own big day which they have tentatively penciled in for September 2016. They explained how their hope filled dreams of spending their lifetime together is tainted by the fact that they may not have the same rights as a heterosexual couple, how their love is not seen as equal to others in the eyes of the law simply because they are of the same gender.
The polling day is currently set for May but the USI are trying to push for it to be changed to April to better accommodate students that are doing exams and may be unable to go home to vote.
If you want to find out more about the USI's Marriage Equality campaign or get involved visit voteforlove.ie or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #MakeGraTheLaw.
Young Global Advocates are trying to re-imagine the global financial crisis and re-imagining what a European future might look. Their “Challenging this Crisis” campaign looks to promote a social economy in Europe, by lobbying Members of European Parliament (MEPs). It aims to develop awareness amongst young people, encourage them to consider the European debt crises in a global, interdependent context.
The Young Global Advocates group, which is spearheaded by the Irish Development Education Association (IDEA), consists of young people from Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Slovenia. They want to promote an economy which benefits society and that alters the way we engage with the world’s poorest countries.
It’s European Year Of Development this year, which calls on pivotal global change. Challenging the Crisis wants people centred growth to be a part of that change, rather than growth that is purely based around profit. They are trying to send a message of global solidarirty, that stresses that international development is still important to us, even during economic challenges.
The campaign will be launched in Spring 2015, but last week the Irish part of the campaign met with Irish MEPs including Mairéad McGuinness and Brian Hayes, to discuss ending social inequalities and climate change.