Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ministers wake to potential of people power on the net

Pat McFaddenThe Guardian has a couple of interesting features today on the government's plans for e-democracy. Ministers are sensibly considering funding existing sites from groups such as mySociety rather than duplicating their work. Unfortunately Cabinet Office minister Pat McFadden is still entirely confused by the concept of privacy:

"We need a more sensible debate on how all this information government holds can be used to empower people, rather than have this stupid caricature of CCTV cameras in every home. We have to ask whether information or data sharing is an aid to empowerment, as I believe, or the next step to the big brother state."

Sharing public data, like the proceedings of Hansard, is completely different from government departments spraying private information around without explicit consent from the individuals concerned. Why is this so hard to grasp?

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