As you may remember from my Google-WEF rant a few years ago, I strongly believe that governments should regulate private corporations and not the other way round. It is part of our job as business owners to try to stay within the limits agreed by society. If we want to influence those limits, we should do that as individual citizens as much as possible, not by using our businesses to bankroll representatives.
Now I read this in the Guardian: “Facebook has hired Richard Allan, who was previously the head of European regulatory affairs for the technology giant Cisco, to lead its efforts in lobbying EU governments.” When I was working for the Association For Free Software (2002-5), Richard Allan was one of the more informative and knowledgeable MPs. I expressed some concerns when he joined Cisco, but he chaired the Power of Information Taskforce in 2008. Now it looks like he’s gone from the deep blue sea to the devil.
To be honest, I’m even more worried by the prospect of Facebookier government than the Google government I’ve ranted about in the past. What are you playing at, Richard Allan? Maybe in a few days, his website will explain, but it’s been very unsociable about Facebook at first.
This is another example of the problem that Europeans don’t even know which companies are meddling with our government. Our law is nowhere near as strong as the US now, with only a voluntary register.
Registers of interests of elected representatives are sometimes better (I have to check my declarations on Monday and I’m only a councillor for a small village), but I’ve no idea how to see my MEPs’ interests and I found nothing on EuroParl UK website. Anyone know how to find out?
I much prefer it when politicians meet directly with community members, like President Lula at FISL (reported on Nardol), rather than having companies that sell to communities paying people to meet politicians. That’s about four steps removed from the citizens, isn’t it?
Why is no-one talking about cleaning up the EU in UK elections? Bizarrely, the recent EuroParl election was mostly fought over UK expense-fiddling allegations! How do we clean our governments up? Should we care?
On a somewhat amusing footnote, Puffbox notes Richard Allan doesn’t have facebook.com/richardallan (namespace collisions were always going to happen, which made the late introduction of facebook usernames rather daft, upsetting many of their users) – I wonder if they’ll snatch it back from its current user?