What is the difference between South Tyneside Council and the Iranian Secret Police? South Tyneside uses californian lawyers instead of deep packet inspection to identify their on-line enemies.
It is five years since Goldsmith and Wu wrote "Who Controls the Internet: illusions of a borderless world" and readers will know that I blog regularly on the nature of the Internet as a "Cartel masquerading as Anarchy" and the question of whether we can and should trust industry ("merchants") more than governments ("warlords") to handle on-line malpractice. They will also note that my views on some of the key questions are little more consistent than my punctuation and spelling. It believe it more important that you understand the fundamental importance of the questions than listen to my attempts at answers.
Next week the Information Society Alliance (EURIM) is due to announce a major exercise on information and identity governance. This will combine top down studies of the conflicting agendas that need to be discussed "in the same room at the same time" with bottom up exercises to distil practical solutions. Later in the June I am due to introduce a high level workshop (of Whitehall Mandarins and Heads of Industry and Finance) on the differences between government and industry in their approaches to information assurance and security. I expect to get more from them than they do from me - but was honoured to be asked - especially when I heard who had recommended me.
I had not, however, expected the EURIM exercise and the high level workshop to be quite so topical, although I knew they were timely.
The draft prospectus for the EURIM study (see below) does not explicitly address the use of social networking for management and consultation - or its "monitoring" to "remove" dissenters" but one of the prospective members of the leadership team has already asked whether this will be included.