23 April 2007

Making All the Right Connections

This is a tiny footnote to the larger story of the imminent IPRED2 vote, but I think in its own way it's a fine parable about the power of connected people, and of the larger connection that is the Internet.

Although I follow matters concerning European legislation affecting the digital world, and particularly those involving intellectual monopolies, pretty closely, I'd missed exactly when this IPRED2 stuff was about to break.

Luckily, I have a feed from the Open Rights Group, who ran this story warning us about the upcoming vote. As a result, I wrote first this post, and then this one, making pleas for people to write to their MEPs asking them to support amendments to the IPRED2 proposal, or to vote against it completely.

Nothing special in that, you might say. Except that Simon Phipps kindly mentioned me as one of his sources for a post on the subject, also urging people to write to their MEPs. And this, in its turn, was picked up by James Governor.

But the story does not end there. As James relates, within half-an-hour of firing off some emails, he had received a reply - a positive one too - and was impressed. I, too, am deeply impressed by the three replies I have received so far, two positive, and one effectively abstaining.

What this shows is the real power of blogs to get a message out, and to make a difference. More importantly, perhaps, it also shows that emailing MEPs does actually get a response, sometimes rapidly. I find both facts heartening; it gives me hope for the political process and for the possibility that technology can help ordinary citizens engage with it more directly.

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