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Posts Tagged ‘Dizzy’

The government and web 2.0

I just found out through Dizzy that No. 10 plans to launch a TV channel. It certainly does no harm if it helps to provide greater transparency, although I presume it won’t be too much fun to watch either. But the ‘funny’ thing Dizzy has found out is that their announcement wasn’t followed by taking precautions from the inevitable online prank. And a prank is exactly what happened, have a look at this…

This isn’t the first cock-up by the government’s web 2.0 operation. As Guido has embarrasingly noted in his blog, the widely publicised Ask the PM a question YouTube campaign never actually happened. Both of these msitakes are avoidable and embarrasingly amateurish. Which is shocking seeing how the open source government work under Tom Watson is looking great and the UK is becoming a much talked about world vanguardist in the open government field.

UPDATE: LabourMatters tells me that the PM did actually answer the question, it simply was delayed for 10 days. My mistake there.

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In today’s Times Phil Hendren, aka Dizzy Thinks, has written a piece on the Government’s new proposal on mass surveillance in Britain. In it Hendren argues that the Government’s project is technologically unviable.

I couldn’t be happier. I believe in social-democracy based on the concept of an individual’s rights and duties towards its community. The fact that some individuals are taking their duties for granted does not mean the Government can arbitrarily take their rights away, and certainly not that of others as if they were military collateral damages.

But Hendren’s technological argument isn’t the only roadblock to the Government’s proposal. To liberal Eurosceptics around the country I would like to remind them that the European Convention on Human Rights in its article 8 protects the right to privacy. So eventually even if the project became technologically viable it could be challenged in Strasbourg.

But the key issue for me is that I find myself more afraid everyday of the current mass hysteria engulfing both Britain and Europe in relation to public safety. It seems to me we have forgotten about the causes of crime, terrorism and illegal immigration. It seems we are trying to build Fortress Europe by just acting a posteriori rather than acting on the a priori social causes. The European citizenry is not just accepting the trimming of its rights but in fact welcoming it electorally.

During the electoral campaign in Spain I was proud to have voted for Rodriguez Zapatero because he stood up to fear and populism and defended immigration as a source of wealth for Spain and Europe. It seems Labour in Britain would rather join the populists. But mass surveillance is a step too far that means an outright violation of my right to privacy. Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime shouldn’t have just been a good soundbite, but a clear-cut Labour social policy.

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