Yesterday, the Chancellor of Exchequer, George Osborne, presented the budget for 2014. The big mantra was “hardworking people”—the state aims to protect and promote the interests of the “makers, doers and savers”. One of the measures he announced was that the beer duty will be lowered by 1p per pint. Admittedly this cut will not have a tremendous impact on most people—you need to drink 100 pints to save £1—but it is important for what it represents. Decreasing the tax on booze in a country that clearly has a problem with alcohol does not seem like a good idea; it doesn’t send a good message. Whilst in the past thirty years the overall alcohol consumption in OECD countries fell by 9%, the UK saw an increase of 9%. So I posted the following on twitter: “Call me weird but it seems a terrible...
In previous articles on Online Public Spaces I have made two arguments. Firstly, that online public spaces such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter, should be subject to no less regulation than physical public spaces like pubs. Secondly, that in order to guarantee online social interaction we need to protect our data by ensuring that it can survive the discontinuation of a social network. Thus, I made an argument for an import/export mechanism that would underpin a decentralised system of communications.
In this article I want to raise the issue of access to these social networks. If online public spaces are deemed as important for justice and democracy, then we need to make sure that they are accessible to everyone.
This is the second of a three-post series on Online Public Spaces. In this post, I focus on the longevity and portability of data and argue for the creation of a cross-platform open standard for data-transfer across social networks, to facilitate decentralised online interaction.
This post was published in LSE’s Politics and Policy Blog, under the title There is tremendous value in maintaining online public spaces. This is the first of a three-post series. Read the second post titled Online Public Spaces and Access: policies your MPs can promote and the third titled Online Public Spaces, Longevity and Portability of Data: policies your MPs can promote.
By allowing interaction between people of diverse backgrounds and class, online social tools have come as close as possible to overcoming the structural limitations of physical spaces and are central ingredients of a deliberative democratic state. For this reason, George Iordanou argues that online public spaces should receive no less scrutiny or be subject to no less regulation than physical public spaces.