Last week, I went to India as part of the Prime Minister’s business delegation. The trip came completely out of the blue, and I was surprised and honoured to be asked. We were only in India for a couple of days — a whirlwind tour — but it was an unforgettable trip. In fact, having now spent 20 minutes staring at those two sentences, I’m finding it a bit hard to know where to begin. We spent quite a lot of time on the plane, but in between, we met a sparkling array of very interesting people from all sorts of backgrounds, visited places from the firmly affluent to the strikingly poor, and learned some valuable lessons about technology, democracy and civic engagement. My bit of the trip was the hack day that we did at Google with some Indian developers. Rohan Silva, Liam Maxwell, Edmund von der Burg, Tim ...(Read More)

Who should I vote for?

Help me decide who to to vote for

The Creative Coalition Campaign’s Guardian ad, deconstructed

Today, in the Guardian, the Creative Coalition Campaign published an advertisement urging MPs to vote for the Digital Economy Bill. An ad from the Open Rights Group (with which I am involved) and 38degrees also appeared, urging MPs to vote against. The difference? We’re standing up for people’s rights to due process, for constitutional propriety and for people’s digital liberties. They’re standing up for retrograde legislation to protect their own interests, at the expense of ours. And they’re not being very honest about it, either. Today marks a critical day for the UK’s creative industries, as the House of Commons will debate the Digital Economy Bill. If passed, the Bill will provide urgently needed support for our creative talent and the businesses which have made the UK one of the leading creative economies in the world. Indeed. A day where, after an afternoon’s discussion, a bill will be voted through ...(Read More)

Don’t let the Government zap your internet connection

The government have just announced that they do intend to introduce technical measures to reduce illicit file-sharing after all, and have tacked some extra questions onto an existing consultation file-sharing consultation. You need to write to your MP. Yes! You! Among the points you could make: This regulation is unnecessary File-sharing is on the wane. Legal services like Spotify and are extremely popular, and heavily used. Spotify have been gaining 40,000 new users per day. The market is solving this problem. Heavy-handed regulation is not necessary. These measures are disproportionate The Government intends to introduce measures that would allow Ofcom to strip people of their internet connection. This is an extremely severe measure. The Internet is not a luxury that can reasonably withdrawn on a whim. It is a crucial part of modern life. Increasingly it is the medium by which we interact with the state, with each other, ...(Read More)

Write to your MP about ID cards!

It’s been a while since we’ve been able to do that. I fruitlessly wrote to my MP, David Lepper, while the ID cards bill was being voted on. Unfortunately, he never saw sense. In any case, No2ID are raising the alert: a batch of regulations are being laid before Parliament next month which provide a lot of details about the scheme’s implementation. These regulations must be approved by MPs before they are passed, which means a vote — and which means that the time has once again come to write to your MP and ask them to vote against the regulations. From No2ID, here they are: The Identity Cards Act 2006 (Application and Issue of ID Card and Notification of Changes) Regulations 2009 The detail that you will have to give to the Home Office about yourself, much much more than the “basic identifying information” ministers keep referring to. The ...(Read More)