While government plays an important leadership role in determining how much privacy is enough, it must at all costs not be allowed to define and designate appropriate online behaviour alone. More importantly, independent defences against the worst abuses must be built into the mechanisms of Internet management from the start. There aren’t many politicians in the world that would do this without significant – dare I say pointed – encouragement from their consitituents.
Vanuatu has an energetic and ambitious IT community, and we feel it’s time to start thinking in broad terms about how we’re going to cope with the radical changes presented by the entry of high technology into our collective existence.
[Originally published in the Communications column for the Vanuatu Independent newspaper.]
One for all and all for one? Policy-making processes aspire to this, but where IT is concerned, it’s as often a free-for-all as one-for-all.
One of the biggest problems we face when we try to establish standards and policies around technology is that it extends into all sectors of society and the economy. This often results in very different views about – well, about pretty much everything.
Some people see ICT policy-making as a chance to pave the way for new business opportunities. Some see it as a chance to enhance the same moral, ethical and legal framework that currently defines their society; others see it as an opportunity for social transformation. Still others see it as merely a vehicle to define technical standards and protocols. Yet others see ICT as only one little egg in a much larger policy basket.
Getting everyone to agree on the process of establishing a national ICT policy, therefore, can be an exercise akin to herding cats and chickens all at once. Priorities are like noses: everyone’s got one, and every one of them is different.