Article: Martyn Perks on how the government is coercing people into a brave new digital world

Martyn Perks reviews a government-backed campaign to get the entire UK adult population online and threatens to make ‘cyber slaves’ of us all.

The Race Online 2012 campaign has just launched its Manifesto for a Networked Nation, which aims to get the entire adult UK population hooked up to the internet before the 2012 London Olympics. The campaign is spearheaded by Martha Lane Fox, a veteran of the online world, having co-founded the successful travel business during the boom. She was reappointed UK Digital Champion by the new Lib-Con government in June 2010… more of us to enjoy the benefits of the internet. But it is worth asking why this government-endorsed campaign is so keen to bring every single Brit online, and to create a ‘Networked Nation’. It is also worth keeping in mind that there is a tendency, when focusing on the so-called ‘digital divide’, to exaggerate the potential of the internet to transform society, as if removing the divide is enough in itself to cure society of all its ills.

Coercing people into a brave new digital world, Martyn Perks, spiked, 21 July 2010 [Shared bookmark]

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