[I’m breaking some of my digEcon issues down into a three part series across my blogs. The first part is published in the wind where I usually look at copyright issues as a content consumer and a writer. This second part here in Oh! Canada and the final part in StopUBB. When all three are complete I’ll add link arrows.]
One thing we all seem to love about the Internet is the opportunities we have to “Like” things. A simple mouse click bestows or withdraws our approval on comments or news stories on the Internet. It gives us the power to be heard.
Voting in the Digital Economy Consultation
The Canadian Government recognized our liking for “Liking” and gave us the means to do so on the Digital Economy Consultation website. The top three ideas appeared on the home page, right under Industry Minister Tony Clement’s video opening. Every time I logged in to the DigEcon site the same three ideas were on the front page. If you wanted to participate in the consultation you had to be registered and logged in to vote for an idea.
I’m not entirely sure how these ideas got there although I think they originated in the online discussion forums.
digEcon Voting Scandal?
One idea did really well, one which sought to Reinstate our Census Long Form aka Questionnaire 2B based on the understanding that in a digital world information is vitally important, especially for Government’s long term digital economy planning. A great many visitors to the digEcon site agreed with this idea and it quickly rose through the ranks.
Apparently the Government didn’t like this.
So the Government relocated it.
‘Reinstate our Census Long Form’ was pulled and tucked in an out of the way corner. Even after being pulled, at the end of the day it still held second place, having received +389 votes.
I learned about this from
- Russell McOrmond’s Digital Copyright Canada: Why no formal submission to Digital Economy consultation?
- Jennifer Ditchburn, Globe and Mail: Web links to census discussion vanish
- Data Libre #1: Conspiracy about the Census & the Consultation?
- Datalibre #2: Industry Canada says the census is not part of the Digital Economy
- eaves.ca: We want to consult, until you say something we don’t like
- eaves.ca : Minister Clement, privacy and (un)balanced views
But “officially” it didn’t count. As far as the Government was concerned, only the three ideas on the home page were the “winners”.
The idea to provide Open Access to Canada’s Public Sector Information and Data called for the creation of “a data.gc.ca for Canada’s public sector information” garnered +338 votes.
Finally in third position a proposal for improved access to publicly-funded data
with +197 votes.
The Census idea was removed July 9th, a day after Compete/Compute arrived onsite.
The Census idea was unfairly treated, but in all fairness you could still vote for it– if you could find it.
The Government claims the subject matter was outside the guideline, which clearly was not the case. Even if it had been true, it should have been taken down much sooner. It sat on the front page for a very long time to get that many votes.
The sad thing is that it has been well proven that this type of “voting” system can be easily “gamed”. The fact that it was done so heavy handedly is bad. I have to wonder about the appropriateness of Compute Canada’s vote getting campaign. Clearly the only concern is getting votes. I would hope that the Canadian government isn’t planning policy based on such flimsy data.
From the Compute Canada Website:
Does Canada really want our future decided on the basis of an advertising campaign?
As amazing and important as supercomputers may be, in the real world there are very few Canadian Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) that would actually need supercomputer access. Certainly there are a few specialized cases where it would be ideal, but I suspect that most SMEs don’t use the PCs and equipment that they have now to the fullest. Everything changes so quickly, just keeping up is both cost and labor intensive. It would be a lot of fun to play around with a Supercomputer, but as a writer all I actually need to write novels is my ancient laptop.
digEcon Canadian Content Scandal?
I didn’t have time to be active in the forums, but something about the Digital Economy Consultation website disturbed me a little at the time. The more I’ve thought about it the more irritated I’ve become.
The site gave you the option to share your submission, and probably your forum ideas as well via email, Twitter or FaceBook.
And of course there were problems with the Twitter partnership, most likely because of Twitter’s extremely proprietary nature. Although it is the kind of thing that frequently happens with proprietary software and digital locks…
So often ordinary users aren’t aware that the technical difficulties they are experiencing are DRM side effects.
What bothered me is that the Government of Canada has chosen to include both Twitter and FaceBook here on an official Canadian Government website. This is effectively an advertisement and a government endorsement of these two American corporations.
I am well aware that Canadians use these services, as I myself do.
That’s not my problem. I am wondering where the Canadian Content was. Hmmmmm… isn’t that one of the things that our current Heritage Minister James Moore is in charge of watching over?
In particular, I’m wondering why the Canadian Government chose not to give equal time to Identi.ca?
Why wasn’t Identi.ca included along with Twitter and FaceBook? Identi.ca is a Canadian Micro-blogging service. Like Twitter, only better in a lot of ways. I do almost ALL my “Tweeting” as “Dents” on Identi.ca
Identi.ca runs on open source Status.Net software. Which isn’t at all surprising since both are part of the same Canadian company from Montréal. People and corporations all over the world are creating their own Status.Net sites. A corporation can easily run Status.Net software on their own LAN. It can be contained as an internal system or interconnect with other systems (without FaceBook type privacy issues) because it isn’t proprietary software. I know individuals who run their own Status.net domain they then connect to Identi.ca
But Status.Net is a Canadian digital economy success story.
I would have thought it elementary that the prime directive of the Canadian Government’s Digital Economy strategy would be
promotion of the Canadian businesses who are out there building Canada’s Digital Economy.
At the very least I would expected our Government to give equal time to Canadian Digital Enterprises.
“Thumbs Up” by David Benbennick, Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons Share-alike 3.0 License
Image Credit “Thumbs Down” by Joe Goldberg under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generc