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[ NNSquad ] Government webpage for every citizen in the race to create a paperless society

----- Forwarded message from Lauren Weinstein <lauren@vortex.com> -----

Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2010 12:16:08 -0700
From: Lauren Weinstein <lauren@vortex.com>
Subject: Re: [IP] Government webpage for every citizen in the race to create a
	paperless society
To: Dave Farber <dave@farber.net>


Remind me again what happens to those persons banned from the Internet
under the "Three Strikes" (and other existing and/or proposed laws) if
such a regime came to pass?  And that's just one of the many reasons
why such a concept is inane.  

It's one thing to offer online services as a very useful alternative,
but once you make them mandatory, start closing the call centers and
*require* everyone regardless of skill levels to use the Internet for
basic government services, it's a recipe for potential disaster and
effective disenfranchisement of the very people who are often in need
of those services the most -- even if you have a wonderfully designed
and operated computing infrastructure.

This is just the sort of half-baked IT wackiness we've come to expect
from Her Majesty's government of late.  Jeez.

Lauren Weinstein
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
Co-Founder, PFIR
   - People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org
Co-Founder, NNSquad
   - Network Neutrality Squad - http://www.nnsquad.org
Founder, GCTIP - Global Coalition 
   for Transparent Internet Performance - http://www.gctip.org
Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenweinstein

 - - -

On 03/20 14:51, Dave Farber wrote:
> Begin forwarded message:
>> From: Brian Randell <Brian.Randell@ncl.ac.uk>
>> Date: March 20, 2010 2:08:15 PM EDT
>> To: dave@farber.net
>> Subject: Government webpage for every citizen in the race to create a 
>> paperless society
>> Hi Dave:
>> From today's (UK) Times newspaper - for IP if you wish.
>> Cheers
>> Brian
>> ---
>> Government webpage for every citizen in the race to create a paperless 
>> society
>> All public services could be delivered online within four years under 
>> an ambitious pledge by Gordon Brown to create a paperless state and 
>> save billions of pounds, The Times has learnt.
>> Tens of thousands of public sector jobs could go in Jobcentres,  
>> benefit offices, passport centres and town halls if face-to-face  
>> transactions are scrapped in favour of cheaper and more efficient  
>> online form-filling.
>> On Monday the Prime Minister will announce plans that he claims could 
>> save billions of pounds over four years by making dealing with the 
>> State as easy as internet banking or shopping on Amazon. Cash will also 
>> be saved on postage stamps, telephone calls and government buildings as 
>> the switch to the internet leads to the phasing out of call centres and 
>> benefit offices.
>> The aim is that within a year, everybody in the country should have a 
>> personalised website through which they would be able to find out  
>> about local services and do business with the Government. A unique  
>> identifier will allow citizens to apply for a place for their child at 
>> school, book a doctor's appointment, claim benefits, get a new  
>> passport, pay council tax or register a car from their computer at  
>> home.
>> Over the next three years, the secure site will be expanded to allow  
>> people to interact with their children's teachers or ask medical  
>> advice from their doctor through a government version of Facebook. But 
>> union leaders and privacy experts immediately warned that the  
>> Government's record on IT projects was already catastrophic and there 
>> would be key concerns about privacy, data protection and fraud. In 
>> addition many elderly, disabled and undereducated people find it 
>> difficult to carry out transactions online.
>> . . .
>> Full story at:
>> http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7069240.ece
>> Some early cynical commentary on this by Toby Young can be found in a 
>> (UK) Daily Telegraph blog:
>> Broon's latest announcement could cost the taxpayer billions
>> Oh dear. Here we go again. Gordon Brown is due to announce on Monday  
>> that he wants every citizen to have their own personal webpage within 
>> three years of Labour being re-elected. According to the Prime 
>> Minister, this will enable them to access a range of public services 
>> online, allowing them to apply for school places, book GP  
>> appointments, claim benefits, get a new passport, pay council tax or  
>> register a car.
>> Sounds like a good idea until you pause to think how much it's going  
>> to cost. When it comes to delivering cost-effective, large-scale IT  
>> programmes, New Labour's track record is lamentable. To take just one 
>> example, the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT), established in 
>> 2002, was originally supposed to cost £2.3 billion over three years. In 
>> 2006, with the Programme far from complete, the National Audit Office 
>> estimated the total cost over 10 years would be £12.4 billion. 
>> Officials involved in the Programme now think its cost will be closer 
>> to £20 billion and it won't be complete until 2014-15, though even this 
>> target - some nine years later than originally planned - is regarded as 
>> wildly unrealistic by most seasoned observers. Needless to say, those 
>> bits of the Programme that have come on stream so far are largely out 
>> of date and unworkable. According to Edward Leigh, the Chairman of the 
>> House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, "This is the biggest IT 
>> project in the world and it is turning into the biggest disaster."
>> . . .
>> http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100030731/broons-latest-announcement-could-cost-the-taxpayer-billions/
>> --
>> School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon  
>> Tyne,
>> NE1 7RU, UK
>> EMAIL = Brian.Randell@ncl.ac.uk   PHONE = +44 191 222 7923
>> FAX = +44 191 222 8232  URL = http://www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/people/brian.randell
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----- End forwarded message -----