Over the last two hundred years, poll taxes, literacy tests and other artificial barriers have too often stood between the less privileged and the exercise of their rights of citizenship. Will the migration of government services to the Web be a great leap forward, or an avoidably negligent step back?
The Obama Administration has committed to creating an "unprecedented level of openness in government," made possible by an equally ambitious utilization of information technology. How that technology, and the standards upon which it relies, are selected will determine whether open government is made available to all, or only to the technically sophisticated, the able-bodied, and the well to do.
Governments represent some of the most complex enterprises in existence, typically comprising multiple "silos" of high-value information trapped within proprietary legacy systems. Government CIOs today are struggling to upgrade their vast IT systems to exchange information across the enterprise, even as President Obama has called upon them to make much of the same information publicly accessible via the Internet. What ...
"Openness" in technology means different things to different people in different settings, because different settings attract different participants with different goals. What should it mean to governments?
You'd never write a blank check to a house painter to paint your house. So why hand one to a lawyer? Good question.