5th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (VIII). Daithí Mac Sithigh: Politics Track Gather Up

Notes from the 5th Internet, Law and Politics Conference: The Pros and Cons of Social Networking Sites, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on July 6th and 7th, 2009. More notes on this event: idp2009.

Politics Track Gather Up
Daithí Mac Sithigh

Two major questions today: what will we do? how will we stay safe?

Innovation come not by using specific technology or platforms but on the effective uses we put into them.

The safety issue seems not to be approachable by the Law alone, being self-regulation and self-commitment a good share of it, and collaboration and co-operation another good share of it.

In a time of crisis, the international community turns its attention to the Information Society. But this is not about hardware, but about organizational change, institutional change. A major planning has to take place to deal with focal issues like e-commerce, network safety or e-Administration.

We’d do well to learn from sub-national or even local successes in open data initiatives, or data sharing initiatives. And what a different it makes to move from the “e-” Government to the “o-” Government.

And open data might be a necessary step to change not only government but also democracy and politics, to enable citizen participation and engagement.

We’re seeing times where political crisis and financial crisis is accompanied by a demand for transparency, openness, open data, etc. And it looks like broadly demanded political reforms could move towards this direction.

This is, for instance, how Politics 2.0 evolve from Politicians 2.0 towards Political Spaces 2.0.

Politics 2.0 can be presented as a virtuous circle, where everybody is part of that circle, and where the sense of “small” (as in a small issue) can have a brand new meaning (and not be small or irrelevant at all).

Will, hence, the unconventional ways of doing politics become the conventional or mainstream ones? Do we want that?

What is the right agenda? Does a creative use of public information (initially well intended) have bad consequences?

Next steps?

  • W3C Access to Government interest group
  • Pulic Services 2.0 declaration
  • From “come back tomorrow” to “come back next year”?
  • Social networks and social questions

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5th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2009)

5th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (IV). Daithí Mac Sithigh: Law Track Gather Up

Notes from the 5th Internet, Law and Politics Conference: The Pros and Cons of Social Networking Sites, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on July 6th and 7th, 2009. More notes on this event: idp2009.

Law Track Gather Up
Daithí Mac Sithigh

Because we are Internet users, or intensive SNS users, we can put interesting and critical questions. Would it make any difference wouldn’t we be such kind of users?

Article 29 Working Party: how to find a data controller, how to define the default settings, what should be the usage of nicknames and pseudonyms, how should we treat peole under 18 (or under 14, as it also is the case of Spain), what happens to non-members of SNS, or what exactly is the domestic exemption?

Users create cognitive shortcuts that create some harms on our society that we do not fully understand. And solutions to these shortcuts are not that simple, because it attempts against the very nature of SNS and what their users are actually looking into them.

Examples:

  • Bodil Lindqvist about EU privacy laws
  • Lori Drew and Megan Meier’s suicide
  • John Sawers or how important personalities of the MI6 find their photos on Facebook
  • Phorm being dropped from British Telecom
  • Sunday Express publishing “dirty” stories and being violently “punished” by it

We are reaching a breaking point regarding the Terms of Service and conditions of SNS: either we will give up the fight, or we will ignore them or fight them until the end.

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5th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2009)