Progress are currently running a series of articles containing suggestions for what Gordon Brown should do with his first 100 days of power. I've contributed a piece, suggesting that some new rules are needed on how information is gathered and shared across the economy, state and civil society. It may sound naive, but that's kind of the point - if Brown is to avoid looking jaded and over-accustomed to power, he's going to need some more idealistic, less pragmatic policies such as this. It concludes:
Achieving a sense of due process and rule of law in an age of rapidly developing and often invisible technologies is extremely tough. But attempting to do so, as the European Commission has recently done in engaging the public on RFID tag regulation, is both noble and bold. Why not rethink the rules of information in the digital age from the ground up? That is precisely the sort of optimistic – perhaps over-optimistic – policy that characterised New Labour in the mid and late 90s. From Freedom of Information to data-sharing to privacy rights to surveillance rights, both the public and the State have developed a sense of helpless resignation at the direction policy takes. A new settlement for the digital age is precisely the sort of wide-eyed ambition that ought to characterise a new political era.