See a future in Dot Everybody…?

Following Paula Le Dieu’s talk at OpenTech 2015, I looked into the

We have an opportunity to make Britain brilliant at digital. We’ve been going too slow, being too incremental – in skills, in infrastructure, in public services. We need to be bolder.

A new institution could be the catalyst we need to shape the world we want to live in and Britain’s role in that world. Today, we’re letting big commercial technology platforms shape much of our digital lives, dominating the debate about everything from online privacy to how we build smart cities.

fact, I probably wouldn’t call it an institution at all. This is no normal public body. It’s time to balance the world of dot com so let’s create DOT EVERYONE.

I was impressed with the scope of the ambition. The Richard Dimbleby Lecture is a great starting point, just the audience alone was equally impressive with some seriously smart people including Tony Ageh, Tom Loosemore, Matthew Postgate all in the crowd along side the director general and many others. But its worth  reading the transcript, reading huffpost and watching the lost lecture which digs into the earlier thoughts including a mention of knowle-west in Bristol. Likewise the parliament speech is also worth watching.

Its strange that I heard about dot everybody and some how overlooked it, rather than having a proper look at it. They certainly are saying the right things…

Tim Berners-Lee started thinking about this with his recent Web We Want campaign.

Here’s a specific example: we wouldn’t make policy decisions about health care matters without consulting doctors and medical ethicists. According to the same logic, we shouldn’t make privacy and data policy without consulting technologists and encryption experts. The Snowden revelations and subsequent tribunal this year found that up to 2013, GCHQ had been undermining encryption and bulk collecting our data. Whatever you think about the effectiveness of executive oversight, everyone agrees that the legislation governing our data is woefully inadequate.

Right now, many of the people responsible for renewing that legislation don’t have all the technical knowledge required to do the best job possible. Surely this has to change.

There is no shortage of other issues to be explored.

Do children need different rights online?

What are the implications of wearable technology? Of an internet embedded in devices in your home?

How do we make sure that ‘smart cities’ are projects for the public good not just private profit?

How should we prepare for the so called “second machine age” and the increasing use of robots?

How do we protect against increasing cybercrime?

I believe we should make sure that the original promises of the internet – openness, transparency, freedom and universality – are a national asset, as integral to our soft power as the Queen, singing superstar Adele, JK Rowling, Shakespeare, or dare I say it on this channel, Downton Abbey.

Of course, the cynical could say well thats nice but wheres the action?

Like the Open rights group in 2005, things need time to grow and mature. You also need to be there at the conception of the idea and be willing to shape it, not just sit there and watch it fall over. This is why I sign and put money towards the pledge at the site.

I want to see this happen very soon, and I’m happy to pay a little to insure it happens for sure.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

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