I’ve just been reading a great post from Tom Steinberg on mysociety.org outlining his views on what would constitute an internet manifesto for Government. His basic premise is that the arrival of the internet is as important as (but crucially different from) electrification and the invention of shipping containerisation.
Citing a recent speech by Gordon Brown he argues that the Government is fixated by some of the economic benefits of the internet – cheaper Government service delivery for example – but these only tell part of the story about the change that the internet can wreak.
His recipe for Government is:
- Give up trying to control central information – the internet will solve identity better than an ID card scheme, for instance, he says
- Seize the opportunity to bring people together – millions visit Government websites doing the same things; they should be encouraged to interact with each other around them
- Get new Civil Servants who really “get” the internet
- Resist calls to bring in powers to give back the powers previously enjoyed by the incumbents
- Back the best ideas for “being on the side of the citizen” and drive them through.
It’s a well-argued post – well worth a read.