Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The e-volution of Government

Government, iGov, eGov, mGov*? It's the evolution of Government. I was reading about government's evolution progress in The Economist a couple of weeks ago and it's been in the back of my mind ever since. I work in government and am aware of the many strides and steps that we're taking as a measure to cut cost and save time in order to increase governmental efficiency (a phrase that is as of yet still an oxymoron). It came back to the fore this afternoon when I was ready politics today and saw that our State Government has put it's spending online, a precursor to a bill in progress that would require all "political subdivisions" to make said information available via the internet.
In South Carolina we're well on surpassing iGovernment (defined as just posting information) and are beginning to break into eGovernment as people can now renew drivers licenses online and certain other transactions services can be performed online. These programmes will expand once South Carolina switches to digital broadcasting and all that analog spectrum is converted to wireless broadband. Which may help answer questions concerning a similar evolution e-democracy. (see e-democracy, also here)
One of the hallmarks of e-democracy is the possibility of e-suffrage - or rather, internet voting. Earlier in this primary season ABC/Facebook conducted a poll to find out from America's youth what would get them to exercise the right to vote - an overwhelming majority said that if they could vote via the internet they would. Already in some parts of the world small scale testing has occurred. Even here in the USA the Pentagon has set up an internet voting system to allow service members the opportunity to vote. There are two main concerns though with e-suffrage, or i-voting: Security and Parity. The former is answered by the fact that it's already in progress, voting via the internet has already occurred in this country, and the latter of which is answered in part by South Carolina's actions with it's free analog spectrum.
Ultimately it's not a question of security or of parity, but of utility and engaging the average citizen to particpate in the political process.
* mGov is the use of Mobile Phone technology to actively allow citizens access of information and manipulation of transactions

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