As promised I popped over Pragmatic Radicalism’s the Top of the Manifestos event run by @LabourDigital. I proposed that “the regulator’s code must be open” and this can be seen at their updated event page. I presented a pitch entitled, “The regulators code must be open” but sixty seconds isn’t long. It didn’t win, or even make the final cut!Mrs. L who accompanied me said, it was too wonky and needed an understanding beyond that available. She also said I spoke too fast. I also spent too much time placing it in the context of the Labour Party’s policy making process. Someone asked a very helpful question, “which code needs to be open?”, and I said that code that counts votes, code that substantiates evidence in court, takes judicial or semi-judicial decisions or acts on the behalf of law enforcement investigators. I forgot to mention that the code that substantiates identity must also be open.
The winner was Dan Fox, who proposed a policy to encourage the adoption of IPv6, which is needed because we’ve run out of addresses and can’t connect any more devices to the internet. While this is an issue of legitimate public policy, I have to ask where’s the politics? Why Labour? He’d obviously brought some friends and it didn’t take many. (I wonder if there’s an argument for collecting this in with DNSSEC and https everywhere).
The runner up was Sehr Sarwar, who presented a pitch, “Devoted to E-Voting”, basically arguing that the yoof should be allowed to use their facebook attached phones to vote. I asked how one solved the security questions of identity and the integrity of the count and was told they just needed to be solved. I personally think the order of using the technology and ensuring it works is important.
I am disappointed that given two choices of using today’s secret technology and demanding openess, the meeting chose to use it. I obviously need to try harder. So here’s the slogan I should have used,
If code is law, then secret code is secret law, and secret law is the tool of totalitarians.
Is identity assurance the key to this problem. It’s more important than I thought. I have planned to write something on the privatisation of identity assurance as various government sites and agencies consider outsourcing it to facebook, google and twitter. Somehow the events and news never seemed compelling enough to finish it, it looks like I should.