I remarked earlier about Helen Goodman MP and her total lack of technical knowledge. An MP being a bit behind the times isn't the greatest shock - but she's Labour's Shadow Minister for Culture, Media, and Sport - that's a big deal!
This year, Claire Perry MP produced an "independent" report into online child protection. By "independent" I mean "produced by vested interests including religious groups".
It makes for pretty tedious reading, however you may get a laugh from the antics of our MPs on page 86 when they start discussing Internet filters...
Helen Goodman: I’m sorry, maybe I’m particularly stupid, but I haven’t understood how I get this software or this kit or whatever it is, this filter thingy that you click or whatever without buying a new computer and I don’t want to spend a thousand pounds just to have a filter. I just haven’t understood what I do, and you’ve been talking to us and I’ve been in this room for half an hour.
Matt Lambert: You can download any number of parental control software for free...
Helen Goodman: But I don’t know how to download parental controls. I can send an email, I can click onto Windows but the minute you talk about downloading software, my brain goes bzzzz.
Matt Lambert: Ok, I’m sorry I’m using a technical term, but if you go to search and you ask for parental controls, you will find, whichever search engine you’re using, you’ll find any number of free options including ours.
Jonny Shipp: If you talk to your Service Provider, they’ll help you, I think, mostly.
Helen Goodman: How do you talk to them?
Jonny Shipp: The service provider that provides your internet connection at home.
Helen Goodman: You mean you phone them up?
Jonny Shipp: Yes, or however you’d normally talk to them.
Helen Goodman: I don’t normally talk to them very often.
Fiona Mactaggart: The point that Helen is rather effectively illustrating is the point that, this is the point I was trying to make about being stupid, about the fact that for this best to work, particularly when children are more technically aware than their parents, they know how to get around better than mum and dad, that actually there has to be something which is really simple and which kind of delivers itself to your door...
The "particularly stupid" Helen Goodman speaks for the Labour party on matters of Culture, Media, and Sport. Which, in our twisted democracy, also means "The Internet".
I'm not saying that someone with such responsibility needs to be able to compile their own software, or rebuild a PC. But it would be nice if they understood how to install software.
On an entirely unrelated note, please join the Open Rights Group today. They're doing great work trying to stop Parliament from destroying the Internet.
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