2012 June 30
Networks – Connections
The essence of a network is its connections and, indeed, the multiplicity of those connections. While there are many ways of networking (putting up a card in the newsagent’s window still works fine!) we can not avoid at this point of the 21st century that the network of networks is the Internet.
The joy of the world wide web is its very… webbyness.
Instead of straight lines many co-joining and splitting filaments, this is inherent in not only its architecture but also in the way we use it.
To me, this is inherently political because this idea of openness and the re-routing round the gatekeepers flattens hierarchies, promotes the exchange of ideas and culture without a specific elite to tell us whether it is good for us or not, or how much to pay for it.
These connections can dissolve space, can turn conventional relationships on their head. The potential is there for a 10 year old girl in Paraguay with a 10 dollar laptop to be the next thought leader, political inciter or business innovator.
But these connections are under threat.
2012 June 22
After many years of campaigning, Parliament is finally debating a new Defamation Bill. Defamation (covering libel and slander) is about protecting a person's reputation, and balancing that right against the general freedom of expression. Over the last few years English libel law has become infamous around the world for its chilling effect on free speech, ease of use to silence criticism (informal, political and academic) and its disproportionate costs.
The new Bill attempts to tackle some of these issues. But while it is a step in the right direction, it mainly codifies the existing law rather than significantly improving it. There are still some major problems with the current text and while it is being debated in the House of Commons we have a chance to try to fix it before it becomes law. To do this, we need you to write to your MP, highlighting the major problems. If nothing else, please ask them to read through the memorandum the Party submitted to the Public Bill Committee, the key points of which are outlined below.