My digital pledges

After the passing of the Digital Economy Act last week and before the political parties each launch a manifesto next week, I wanted to ask your advice on my own Internet pledges.

I want to stand on a platform that is avowedly supportive of the generation that seek to use the Internet to make the world a better place. To do this I have to be able to draw authority from an electoral mandate from electors in West Bromwich East. So I’d like to produce a leaflet that sets out what I stand for. It will be delivered to as many homes in West Bromwich as my campaign team can manage. Friends will also help me get it out onto digital platforms for wider discussion as soon as the pledges are finalised. I only have a few days to do this.

It’s clear to me that the British political class as a whole (like others round the world) struggles with getting these principles right. I’ve had a stab here but I’d grateful for all honest attempts at improving them. It’s a healthy thing for Internet experts, like everyone else, to get into the habit of asking for what they want. You never know, you might end up getting it. That’s how politics works sometimes.

To give you the best chance of getting your ideas into me, I would appreciate comments to the pledges below both on this blog but also over on the uservoice site I have set up to help structure feedback a little.

As I say, we need to act fast so while I’ll leave comments open indefinitely, I am looking to create the initial list of pledges this week so ideas by the end Wednesday 14th April would be really appreciated.

My (draft) Digital Pledges

  1. I will support and campaign for more transparency in the public and private sector.
  2. I will oppose measures that unjustly deny people’s access to the Internet.
  3. Whilst noting the acknowledged limitations, I believe people have the right to free speech on the Internet.
  4. I will support all measures that allow people access to their personal data held by others. I further support restoration of control over how personal data is gathered, managed and shared to the individual.
  5. I will use my role as an MP to support international free expression movements.
  6. The Internet shall be built and operated openly and without discrimination.
  7. I will support all measures to bring non-personal public data into the public domain.
  8. I will support all proposals that lead to greater numbers joining the digital world and oppose measures that reduce it.
  9. I believe that copyright and software patent laws should be reformed to reflect the needs of citizens in the Internet age.


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