Monday, October 02, 2006

Who Owns The Deliberation[tm]?

Amongst various commentary on the recent launch of David Cameron's video blog thing,, Phil picks up on the battle between traditional and emerging media platforms, while David Wilcox asks whether we can trust Government to talk directly to us online.

This issue of Trust is a big one - hence the capital 'T'. I suspect - and intend to find out for sure soon - that this issue isn't related purely to matters of an online nature, but that it has been resurrected as technology opens up the avenues through which we conduct our politics. The relationship between the 'public', the media and the politicians is a triangle that needs to be considered carefully - that is, we should not sit back and see where we're taken with all these new-fangled toys.

If indeed the question is old, then there will be plenty of examples - both around us, and from the history books - that we should take into consideration when deciding what kind of democracy we want as a collective.

To take one, concerned directly with institutional trust (yet pushing the media aside for the moment), as an illustrative analogy: Who should decide the technical details of the voting and ballot processes?

In other words, who is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the link (or links - in both directions) between the elected and the electorate? The same question can be applied to an ongoing accountability that - currently - is provided (in a way that is, at least, the most possible/plausible given the state of technology) by mainstream media channels.

As technology integrates itself even more with our daily lives, and becomes more applicable to this field, my question (to reiterate) is: Do we want to just see where the mix of established competitive democracy and emerging integrative technology takes us? Or should we (as a whole nation) be considering what form of politics we want, and then designing infrastructures to this end?

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