A quick hypothetical situation, or, your crash introduction to the real world

Leave a comment
UK policy
A still frame from the film "The Post" showing an old printing press, loaded with type blocks which say "free to publish"

My July blog post on the upcoming compliance obligations for everyone who is not big tech, under the Online Safety Bill, is exploding again. This is due to people sussing that any Mastodon instance which could conceivably be accessed by a precious British child will fall in scope of the OSB, which of course has no thresholds save for “big tech” and “everyone else on the planet”.

Read More

November housekeeping

Leave a comment

I recognise that things have got a bit weird on the socials, so:

  1. I’m not leaving Twitter until it leaves me;
  2. I do have a Mastodon account, open in a tab, and will play with it at some point this month when it becomes more interesting than the books I’m reading, and right now that is very stiff competition;
  3. I may start writing here more, in different ways, using post formats to delineate the “types” of writing I’m doing. This post itself is a test run of that. If this becomes more than a test, I’ll set up category-specific RSS feeds. Speaking of which:
  4. As a backup, I went through the many organisational and institutional accounts that I follow on Twitter, and from there to their sites to subscribe to their RSS feeds. I was genuinely gobsmacked by how many organisations do not have them. We are talking about digital-specific groups here: digital ministries, digital policy think tanks, digital rights groups, digital faculties, and so forth. This is failing-at-the-first-hurdle, hang-your-head-in-shame territory here, folks.
    If this is making your face turn a funny colour, check if your organisation’s site has an RSS feed, and if not, get it done this week. People’s abilities to keep up with your work may well hinge on it.
  5. If you missed the news that I never announced, I am back on the job market again, not happy about it in the slightest, and bored out of my skull in the meantime. If you’re interested in changing that, the usual rules apply.

A Rant: No, journos, I will not talk to you about your favourite billionare bad boy.

BBC Scotland HQ, summer 2020

Although my days as a media contact through my jobs seem to be well behind me, I’m still on a lot of journalists’ contact lists. This has turned into an interesting experiment, as I’ve come to learn what it is they want to contact me about, thinking I am someone or something that I am not.

Now, anyone who has read my words or followed my professional advocacy work will have a fairly good idea of what I’m about – as well as what I am not about. There are issues that I clearly feel very passionately about which great journalists are aware of; in fact, here’s a piece I contributed to last week.

There are also issues about which I clearly DGAF, but when did that ever bother not-so-great journos?

So naturally, in weeks like this, it’s the stuff IDGAF about that not-so-great journalists contact me for.

Read More

A little story about my book and a troublemaker who tried to derail it, as you do


I am completely focused on the imminent release of my book, and more than a little bit giddy about it. The ebook version is coming out this month, and the hard copy will follow next month at the speed of print logistics. It’s not too late to pre-order, if you haven’t already.

Writing a book – a proper, printed, published and edited book – is a completely different experience to anything else you will ever do. The emotional commitment, and the ups and downs, are just a small part of that. But me being me, there have been a few things which happened since the day I signed the contract that, well, are the kind of things that only happen to me. The kind that even if I tell you, you’re going to think “oh no way, she’s making that up”, because that’s easier to believe than the notion that they actually happened.

Here’s a little story about one of those, um, adventures. There are witnesses who were there, and who have their own stories to tell.

And oh, those stories will be far worse. Read More

Help me help you

a sign at the fork in a wooded path, one side pointing to "bar" and the other pointing to "more trees"

Every few months I receive an email out of nowhere from a blog reader, or a follower, thanking me for the work that I do and for the work that I, somehow, have inspired them to do. Those messages always make me think two things:

1. This is what it’s all about, and this is what keeps me going.
2. Why do random people give my contributions more acknowledgement than any employer ever has? Read More

Fixing the UK’s Online Safety Bill, part 1: we need answers.

UK policy
Forked branches in my garden

Here we go with the second of three posts on potential paths forward for the UK’s Online Safety Bill. This one will cover what needs to be cleared out of the way before the Bill can progress, regardless of who takes over that work next month.

That means a series of questions which need answers.

Any one of these questions would be a deal-breaker in a normal political environment. But we have four of them, in as abnormal a political environment as it’s possible to endure.

Read More

Fixing the UK’s Online Safety Bill, part 0: no, it’s not fixable.

UK policy
Image of a building being demolished

Like most of the policy world, the UK’s Online Safety Bill is currently having a lie down in a darkened room for the duration of the summer recess. It will return, in one form or another, in September, where a third Prime Minister and a seventh Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport will take charge of it. Lucky them! As for whether they will choose to put the Bill through a fourth year of revisions, tweaks, and discussions, or put it out of its misery once and for all, that remains to be seen.

Read More