Abstracts: July 21st, 2005

This report from the Institute for Public Policy Research warns that transforming society through technology is in danger of happening too quickly and leaving the public behind. It claims that the government has prepared the UK well for the 21st century but remains seduced by vague notions of a “knowledge economy” and is too often driven by innovation for its own sake.The report argues for directing technological advance to meet social and economic benefits and ensuring that legal and constitutional priorities – including privacy and democratic participation – are not undermined.

Its recommendations include a requirement for all government departments to perform a Privacy Impact Assessment when developing new legislation to help service providers decide when to share data. It also urges an investigation into how Sure Start can be used to improve the IT skills and media literacy of parents.

It concludes that people are more likely to embrace technology if they have more choice about how and when it is used to store information and access services.

The report is available from http://www.ippr.org