Choosing Our Future starts with allowing choice (City of Ottawa consult)

The City of Ottawa sent me a request to participate in a consultation on sustainability. While hitting delete I changed my mind and decided to submit feedback via their site explaining why I wasn't participating: their choice of what to highlight as a potential prize for participating.

Normally I would participate in a consultation on sustainability, but the call for participation suggested to me you were so far away from the type of input I might have that I wouldn't have any impact.

It may seem innocuous to you, but having an iPAD as the hilighted thing you can win for some of us in the sustainability movement feels as inappropriate as having an SUV as the prize for an environmental consultation.

The iPAD is the most visible representation of a new style of policy surrounding technology where it is the manufacturer, not the owner, that retains the keys to any locks on the technology. It is dishonest in that in contrast to someone renting a home, the relationship between the owner and their rights is deliberately obfuscated. It is an unsustainable way of treating technology and technology owners that must eventually be made illegal in law, but in the short term avoided whenever feasible.

More at

The city needs to own and control its own technology, including having all keys to any digital locks, in order to ensure that the technology is fulfilling the city's need needs and not the desires of a third party. While there are better software choices to better fulfil the requirements of the municipality that I might suggest, ensuring that owners (including the city itself) have the keys and thus the ability to make their own software choices is a critical primary requirement.

If there are technology people at the city who would like to discuss this more, please contact me.