Tuesday, 7 April 2015

#DimblebyLecture: DotEveryone and the new logical order

"DOT EVERYONE must help us navigate the multiple ethical and moral issues that the internet is presenting and will continue to present", Martha Lane Fox told us in the Dimbleby Lecture last week, 30 March 2015.

She was thinking of problems like mass surveillance by the security services, she said. And children's on-line rights. The implications of wearable technology and the Internet of Things. "Smart cities" and robots. And cybercrime.

She gave no hint what the solutions to those problems might look like, except to say that they would embed our national values – British values – in the digital world: "That, for me, would be DOT EVERYONE’s third big task – help us embed our national values in the digital world".

You might think that no progress can be made by DotEveryone before those problems have been solved.

Wrong.

Six months ago on 14 October 2014 the Guardian newspaper published Online voting should be made mandatory, says Martha Lane Fox. Can the security of on-line voting be guaranteed? Would the outcome of elections be determined by the voters or by the best hackers? Should voting be mandatory? Can you strip non-voters of their citizenship or their right to benefits?

DotEveryone can't answer those questions. It can't tell the digital world where British values would embed the solutions. But that doesn't stop DotEveryone from legislating for on-line, compulsory voting. This is a new logical order. Either you get it or you get out: "Of course we can cover for all the fraud and I don’t think it makes the procedure any less robust, in fact quite the opposite".

The Open Rights Group, incidentally, and the University of Michigan have thought about this matter as well and, "quite the opposite", they think that eVoting is "less robust".

In the same Guardian article, Martha Lane Fox says that people should have the right to delete everything from the web which might suggest a misspent youth: “We should be able to create these safe places for kids to be OK and for it not be okay for that to then come back to haunt you at a later date ... That feels quite urgent and important and manageable”.

She also says that people shouldn't have that right: "somebody might want to go into politics but hasn't announced it yet and might want to take off everything about their lives previously, there might have been some kind of terrible corruption in the past".

A contradiction?

No.

Not a bit of it, not with new added British values, not in the new logical order of DotEveryone.

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