Tag Archives: government

MPs urge for tighter controls on content

This debate has rumbled on for years, but the Guardian’s Mark Sweney reported only last week that MPs are asking web companies to do more in vetting content on their sites. It’s not new – remember when the time when ISPs got sued failing to take down libellous websites quick enough?

The problem? Well, when you’re YouTube and you get millions of submissions and updates each day, who checks what, when and how? But things might get tricky if sites don’t get proactive and self-regulate or sign up to an informal code of practice.

Can technology help filter out user generated content? It depends from CMS to CMS and I bet that some post moderated sites search for abusive language via the front end search box. But even if it’s true that some of the big UGC sites have search technology that uses an algorithm to hunt down copyrighted music or TV content, how difficult would it be to get these sites to share this technology. Video search technology is big business and anything that can dynamically identify video patterns / human actions / faces is going to be worth zillions, not least to the authorities and security agencies. Imagine the potential of a video search tool that could recognise and flag up drunken fights or car thieves on a city’s 2,000+ CCTV cameras, effectively doing away with the labourious effort of a human trying to watch them all at once. An extreme example but you get my point.

[Read more about the MPs comments at BrandRepublic]

Social networks and teens: Wrecking youth clubs

Social networks may harm the already challenging task of getting young people to join community projects according to a report by Big Lottery Fund Scotland.

While young people interviewed for the report said they were still interested in local face to face group initiatives, many said they preferred to spend time exploring online groups.

A lack of time among teenagers was blamed for the lack of interest, but the report wasn’t all dot doom and gloom. Sites like MySpace, the report said, “gave young people a chance to interact and communicate with other, find out information and learn about new things.”

Fortunately, the report also recognised the value of the web for those in rural areas facing transport issues, as it “gave them a chance to chat with people from long distances who they wouldn’t be able to talk to face-to-face.”

Our two penneth on the report? So much more could be done to build on the huge popularity of online platforms. Even go so far as to partner with them, rather than try to compete with them.

Use them to bring young people together offline at computer clubs. We’re not suggesting Islington Council youth clubs start a flashmob, but why not start some ‘how to’ youth club sessions on modding your MySpace or Bebo profile?

We all want to be popular and get more friends to visit and join our online groups – so show teens how, along with value-ad advice on web safety and walk throughs of local health and career information websites they can explore further in their own time, should the need arise.

Read more about the New Communities report at Big Lottery Fund Scotland

An MP moves on – what happens to their quote?

I love government websites. One thing that always crops up is the outsted MP quote.

Campaign or policy websites for central govt always have the odd sprinkle of Cabinet member glitter on pages to provide their endorsement. But what happens to the quote when said member moves on?

Should the quote be taken down? Should it be amended to ‘Dave Tea-tray, former Minister for Peanuts’? What’s the score?