There are a couple of interesting digital debates coming up in Manchester that we hope to be attending.

This Thursday there’ll be a debate hosted by CING and the Manchester Salon as part of the Manchester Science Festival entitled “Battle over the Internet“:

Special guest speakers Norman Lewis, Mindy Gofton and Keith Teare who will be initiating dialogue about how we can best mould the future of the Internet for our own benefit. They will consider the management and future of the Internet and how the emerging trends of the Internet can be shaped. Questions regarding the Internet’s role in the Arab Spring will be raised, interrogating to what extent freedom of expression should be regulated online and whether the demands for more regulation of social media will enhance the user experience.

You can book free tickets (and skim the background reading!) now.

And next week, there’s another debate – but one that ties in with the upcoming by-election in Manchester Central. The Open Rights Group has invited MP candidates to discuss how they’ll support the “local digital economy”, “defend citizen privacy and free speech online”:

Manchester Central candidates will be challenged to explain how they will defend citizen’s privacy and free speech online.

Recent arrests for “offensive tweets” and proposals to put the whole UK population under Internet surveillance and data collection have thrown digital issues into the forefront of political debate.

As well as the digital economy, we invite comments and questions on the use of the Internet for social change and views on the proposed increase in powers of surveillance.

Given the aspiration for Manchester to become a tech city, this debate offers a unique opportunity for citizens and business leaders to put their questions and opinions about digital matters to those who might be representing us in Parliament after the 15 November.

Get your free tickets online now.

And briefly, if you can’t make the debates but want to meet other digital and creative people in Manchester, then there’s also the last Northern Digitals event for a while at 2022NQ this Thursday. A bit further afield, there’s also the Preston Social, looking at the issues around young people and hyperconnectivity.

See you all around?

[googleplusauthor] @ Melbourne

PS meatspace is a great word