13 July 2010

This interweb thingy

I would be lost without the internet. I am an internet addict. From ordering groceries and airline tickets to carrying out my banking arrangements, I could not survive without it. But is this a step too far? The Telegraph reports:

Everyone of working age should be online by 2015, and all applications for school places and free school meals will be online under a new Government plan to get more people to use the internet.

Launching a plan to get the 10 million Britons who have never used the internet online, the Government's "digital champion", Martha Lane Fox claimed “the Government needs to think ‘internet first’ – by getting more people online, everyone wins.” She suggested that everyone applying for benefits should also be subject to “informal” tests on their computer skills.

It may not have occurred to Ms Fox that some of those 10 million would prefer to live their lives without getting online. And why not? Why should individuals be forcibly encouraged to engage in a practice that requires investment in equipment and time-consuming efforts to keep up-to-date, principally because it might be more convenient for the public authorities. Furthermore, a substantial proportion of those 10 million may be functionally illiterate - little chance that they will enjoy the benefits of surfing the worldwideweb.

No, it's the nanny state again, interfering in our lives. Have they nothing better to do than meddle?

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