Feeds

Minister goes mad for Web 2.0

Miliband drinks the Kool Aid

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Miliband lauds OhMyNews, the Korean "citizens journalism" site. But OhMyNews, as Koreans know only too well, is a nasty, partisan political operation - a kind of Fox News - that only flourishes because it doesn't pay its volunteer contributors. It profits from what's called "digital sharecropping". If this is a new spirit of volunteerism, then so is the Church of Scientology.

As for new modes of production, or a new spirit of sharing, Miliband makes a very common mistake. What we're experiencing is an explosion of low-cost recording technologies. Much of what they record - and what Google indiscriminately caches, like a listening bug in the corner of the room - was never intended to be recorded. Much of the rest was never intended to be "published" - merely spread among one or two family members or friends. The internet has given us "a telephone network with pictures", if you like, which we can all put to use. But to describe this as a new form of production is like claiming that the listening device is creating the conversations it records. Once one has made that mistake, it's very difficult to see things clearly again.

No wonder the Rt Honorable Member for Google (South Shields) is confused, for when some people fall into digital utopianism, they fall in all the way - and when they bob back to the surface, it's with what looks like a shiny, new, off-the-shelf belief system. From then on, it's hard to persuade the sufferer that they're fantasising about the world. Miliband has a fantasy version of technology, breaking off only to plug his "carbon trading calculator".

David George Millibourne

In keeping with the Web 2.0 rhetoric, Miliband's is religious. Take this purple passage:

Instead of citizens acting in isolation, unsure of whether their actions are reciprocated by others, feeling powerless in the face of large organisations and global change, citizens can feel part of a bigger project. They can create a shared willingness to act, their preferences can be aggregated, and can give rise to collective action as well as collective discussion.

And life has meaning again. We'll check the video at some point - and see if there were any hallelujahs.

But for a moment, let's take the Minister at face value. What politicians like Miliband and the Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne - another web fantasist apparently cloned, as you can see, from the same incubator (Millibourne Industries?) - are describing is how they see society ordered. It's technocratic, and the role of the politician in this machine vision is merely to provide lubricant for the great, benevolent actors.

Unfortunately, the near-identical policies of our parties are designed to make life easy for them. Planning controls are dropped and democratic checks and balances are discarded to ease the path for who really runs the country - Tesco, Google (a newcomer), and the nuclear industry.

With so many teenagers pouring out their most intimates on the web, into MySpace and Facebook, some press pundits are wondering if these careless candid thoughts will one day come back to haunt them when they're running for political office. These pundits have got it wrong. It's not their adolescent indiscretions, but the things they said last week that we should take notice off. Especially when they start acting like teenagers. As our "future Prime Minister" just has.

Empowering comments welcome. ®

Related link

Miliband goes mad

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.