Irish eyes on the USA?

October 24, 2012

Public Affairs Ireland in a post by Garrett Fennell entitled “Rolling out eGovernment US style – are there lessons for Ireland?” encourages the Irish government to look to examples in the USA for their approach to e-government. One expression that is used, and is new to me, is the opportunity for e-government to be everyday government rather than electronic government, this is also in contrast to the ‘digital be default’ regime in that users pay a ‘efficiency fee’ to use the faster, electronic services – it does introduce two tiers of service but is obviously better than making all citizens pay for digital, and apparently 27 states are using this self-funding model where the private sector do the work for the fee.

Fennell looks at a range of options from Code for America to some of the transparency initiatives that are going on. He does however conclude that “Of course one aspect that is common between Ireland and the US is the digital divide and the need to ensure that service provision is not focused only at sectors of society that have means or capacity to access and navigate the web, whether through Smartphones or otherwise”, along with acknowledging the need for high-speed broadband if they are to be universal.

E-government and sex

April 21, 2010

Amongst the many papers presented at the Ethicomp 2010 conference was one by Georgia Foteinou, consultant on e-government within the EU and new member states, and researcher at Oxford. Her paper is entitled “E-exclusion and the gender digital divide“.

Georgia has examined the available data from Cap Gemini’s exercises on behalf of the EU, which I have previously criticized, and which I have also challenged directly with them directly.

However, despite my already stated concerns about the nature of quite limited, whilst supposedly statistically significant surveys, there is the clear conclusion that outside of the former communist countries there is some significant gender bias in the use of e-government towards men! Georgia explained that in Greece’s case, this is notably down to the fact that women are not permitted responsibility for their own tax affairs. however, what the cause of the difference was in the rest of the “old” west she hasn’t discovered yet. My own opinion is that it is down to the particular services examined in the survey, and how these are delivered in different states across Europe and nothing to do with “electronic”.

There was also some debate at the presentation around supposed increased gender equality in the former communist block, which there was not complete agreement with!

I look forward to seeing more of Georgia’s research, as she progresses with it.

(Written whilst wandering in Barcelona)