I’m really looking forward to Barcamp Transparency in Oxford later this year (July 26th).
Transparent business/government has become somewhat of a fashionable topic recently (especially so since the UK MP’s expenses abuses have been revealed) but as is normal with the usual media outlets, the discussion has not been very in-depth so far. It’s a great phrase to drop into a sound-bite.
At Barcamp Transparency, I’m looking forward to really digging into the subject and gaining a better knowledge of what it really means. In particular, what the increased calls for transparency in government mean for the democratic process.
I’ve also suggested to the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) that they attend the event too. I’d be interested to hear first-hand why they do not value transparency in what they do as well as why their main ‘sponsors’ in government seem to be the very MP’s who moved to suppress the FOI Act (Freedom of Information Act) in relation to their own activities.
The Internet Watch Foundation, law enforcement authorities and internet content service sectors have achieved more in a year without legislation than we could have achieved in five years through legislation alone. This very successful model of partnership and self-regulation has achieved outstanding and continuing results.
- Rt Hon Alun Michael MP, Former DTI Minister of State for Industry. (His voting record on government transparency is here)
The two subjects I’ve proposed to talk about at the Barcamp are:
1) “What about my mum?” The average person on the street probably takes it for granted that politicians are most likely corrupt and that big business will always be more important than they are. So how do we convey the need and requirement for increased transparency to them in a way that gains their vocal support? Such a fundamental shift in thinking needs the support of all.
2) The IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) and self-regulation. How one self-regulated organization prevented the UK access to Wikipedia and got noticed for the first time. How many other sites have been blocked that you don’t know about? Who watches the watchers? This organization and it’s potential to go badly wrong is a very big concern for me. No one would (or perhaps I should say, no one ‘should’) deny the need for some regulation and monitoring of severely objectionable content on the web but as we’ve seen, these people can and do get it wrong and they have no oversight whatsoever. How can we be certain of their immunity from commercial or political influence?
If the whole subject of transparency interests you too and you’re in the UK in July then I’d urge you to attend. You can find out information and follow updates using the channels below: