Owen Blacker

About me

Owen Blacker, a white man with glasses, short hair and a greying beard. Behind him is a poster about a Green New Deal, in the style of Rosie the Riveter, with her arm holding a large sunflower and the tower of a wind turbine. Also visible is a rainbow-coloured poster featuring cats and the word “Purrride”

I’m Owen Blacker, a queer technologist based in Cardiff, GB.

I started building websites while studying at the University of East Anglia. I moved to London on graduating in 1997 and started working in commercial web development full-time at a design agency. Around the same time, I also started helping with Stand.org.uk and the website that team had recently launched, FaxYourMP.com

I’ve continued to be involved in civic tech, digital liberties and campaigning for most of my adult life. The team behind FaxYourMP.com went on to form mySociety, one of the organisations who founded the concept of civic tech. I became a founding director and trustee of mySociety in 2003, joining the board of mySociety Limited when it was incorporated in 2006. In 2019, I stood down from both boards as a part of the continued process of organisational renewal. In 2022, I left advertising and joined Made Tech as a Lead Software Engineer for my dayjob. (This shouldn’t need saying but, obviously, my social media posts do not represent the opinions of Made Tech.) In 2023, I finally escaped England and moved to Cardiff.

As well as spawning FaxYourMP.com and thus mySociety, Stand.org.uk continued campaigning on digital liberties issues, with me writing a report into Labour’s ID cards proposals, which led to helping found NO2ID and becoming a founding Advisory Council member for Open Rights Group, where I also served on the board of trustee/directors between 2012 and 2020.

In what I laughingly refer to as “free time”, I am an avid Wikimedian, helping run the Wikimedia LGBT+ User Group and Queering Wikipedia, contributing primarily to the English Wikipedia, Wikidata and the Wikimedia Commons. Connecting that with my work at ORG and campaigning on freedom of panorama, I have worked with the Wikimedia Foundation’s public-policy team in Europe. (This too should not need saying but my social media posts also do not represent the opinions of the Wikimedia Foundation, the WMLGBT+ User Group or any of our funders.)

Away from digital issues, my own experience of living with invisible disabilities, both physical and mental, and growing up as a queer man during the AIDS Crisis, mean I also campaign on those topics. I have also started contributing to efforts to address the Climate Emergency. I also enjoy spending time on the LGBTQ+ in Technology slack.

In 2021, I also discovered that reading queer fiction was making everything a bit easier to deal with, so I blog about what I’ve read and generally try to keep my Goodreads profile up-to-date. Likewise, I watch quite a lot of film and TV; there are some blogposts of recs and I log films at Letterboxd.