Why do Politicians Understand So Little? Our Fault or Theirs?
Issue/Topic: Why do Politicians Understand So Little? Our Fault or Theirs?
Convener: Dave Birch
Notes-taker(s): Dave Birch
Tags for the session - technology discussed/ideas considered:
Discussion notes, key understandings, outstanding questions, observations, and, if appropriate to this discussion: action items, next steps:
I asked the group to help me to develop a narrative around digital identity to help to explain it to politicians, to help them to make good decisions about identity infrastructure.
We discussed a series of paradoxes that might be resolved through digital ID technology and wondered how we might explain these to politicians in order to get action.
Paradox 1: The China Syndrome
Why do politicians want anonymous internet access for free speech in China but not in the UK because of terrorism, paedophiles, stalkers etc etc
Paradox 2: The Chatroom Syndrome
Why do we expect disclosure from other people but don't want to disclose ouservles.
Paradox 3: The Baby Picture Syndrome
Why is it OK to let a baby play naked in the garden where it can be seen by neighbours but not on the web
Paradox 4: The Common Sense Syndrome
When the virtual world has no characteristics in common with the physical world, why to we simulate physical ID
Paradox 5: The Children Syndrome
Why is any ridiculous restriction on online activity proposed in order to protect children
Paradox 6: The Ayatollah Syndrome
Do you want bad guys using twitter or not using twitter
Paradox 7: The Google Syndrome
If the government can "break into" the identity infrastructure, then so can the bad guys.
Paradox 8: The Special Needs Syndrome
Every sector of the economy thinks that its identity needs are special and more important, they can't all be right
Paradox 9: The Whisteblower Syndrome
We want people to blow the whistle but they won't if they can be identified
Paradox 10: The Dangerous Dogs Syndrome
Something must be done about identity -- but it doesn't matter if it makes sense or not
Paradox 11: "The Method" Syndrome
Politicians seem to prefer security theatre to security.
Paradox 12: Pass-the-Parcel Syndrome
Everyone wants something done, but no-one wants the problem.
We then had a very good discussion about the elements of a narrative, which was much to involved to transcribe, but the group did come up with one or two suggestions that mae sense. These included focusing on saving money rather than other benefits, perhaps engaging administrations on the specific issue of digital ID as a way to manage the electronic delivery of public services and less about freedom of speech, law and orders, human rights and other less tangible things that have no votes in them. I can't remember who said it, but someone commented that when it comes to mass-market identity implementations, sub-optimal may be better.
A couple of other tips from the crowd: "fight fire with soundbites" and "use rhetorical tricks" because, I suppose, politicians respect them.