[LINK] The new e-power of the people
Tue, 26 Mar 2002 18:48:40 +1100
The new e-power of the people
By Jenny Sinclair
March 26 2002
Modern citizens are expecting more of their governments as they go online
in increasing numbers, according to a leading e-governance researcher.
Professor Thomas Riley, chief executive of the Commonwealth Centre for
Electronic Governance, is in Australia to talk about the issues facing
governments in the electronic era. He will tell a seminar at Melbourne's
RMIT University next Wednesday that modern communications are changing the
way people relate to government.
Private-sector progress in electronic service delivery has led people to
expect the same level of access to governments, Professor Riley believes.
This "interactive citizenry" wants to be more involved in government, and
is ready to move into more participatory forms of "e-democracy" using new
communication tools. New technologies are also affecting the way
governments administer themselves, he says.
The Centre for Electronic Governance is a panel of advisers run by the
Commonwealth Secretariat in London. It has published several reports on
e-governance issues in Commonwealth countries.
Professor Riley is Visiting Professor, Law and Technology, at the
University of Glasgow and writes the e-mail newsletter The Riley Report, an
update on e-governance issues.
In his most recent newsletter, he observes that "Whether (technology) does
in fact bring about a revolution in governance and public sector reform
will be not so much a function of the technology of e-government as it will
be of the ideology that underlies its implementation." He says that
achieving the full potential of communications technology in government
will be partly up to "entrepreneurs within government", rather than
traditional, rule-bound bureaucrats.
If successful, this will lead to what Professor Riley calls "networked
government", which leaves behind informational monopolies and hierarchies.
He cites the example of the way the British Government posted all the
public documents about its response to the September 11 attacks on a
website. "This was done . . . to keep British citizens informed of ongoing
developments," Professor Riley writes. "It is becoming evident that much of
the leadership for change between government and the citizenry is coming
from outside groups, individuals with drive and vision, and the citizenry
RMIT's Centre for International Research on Telecommunications and
Information Technology is at www.circit.rmit.edu.au.
You must believe in free will; there is no choice.
-- Isaac Bashevis Singer