Government crowdsources legal reforms
Or, to be more accurate, it’s crowdsourcing the repeal of laws. The campaign launched online (yes, with a website, yes the government IS cutting back on websites, but this is important, shh!) introduced by Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister.
The idea is that we, the British Public, will suggest laws that curtail civil liberties, that hold back entrepreneurial endeavour or that are just plainly unnecessary. The government will listen to our ideas and put the “best suggestions into practice”. Just like on YouTube, you can post your own idea and others can rate it and comment on it.
It’s an exciting project and it will be interesting to see how the theory of our digital society allowing for more democracy pans out.
Five hours after launch, it looks like Labour’s Digital Economy Bill, passed in a hurry during the last parliament, might be up for the chop, with a number of posters already citing that as one that needs to be addressed. Of course, one poster has already declared that “this bill is a farse”, which does rather highlight the inherent problem of crowdsourcing.
Twelve people, at the time of writing, are suggesting that cannabis be allowed for personal use, rather belying the image of the lazy pothead. I’ve found one request so far for the death penalty to be brought back and another for abortion to be recriminalised. And, inevitably, someone has declared that ‘health and saftey [has] gone mad’.
As with all crowdsourcing, the challenge is in the curating, and good luck to whoever has to go through these and decide which – if any – to act on. I look forward to seeing if the site is just a talking shop or if something that genuinely gives us more liberty will emerge.