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Archive for December 2005

Signs e-government might actually be working?

Posted on Thu, Dec 22, 2005 at 12:26 PM by Andrew Chadwick

I just renewed my car tax license disc - online. Though it has still to arrive in the mail, the renewal process took me about a minute and thirty seconds. This compares with the usual forty five minutes to an hour it takes me to fill in the forms, gather the validation documents, write out the check, go to my nearest post office, stand in line, and, finally, obtain the disc.

Putting the UK Driver and Vehicle License Agency online has not been easy; it has taken more than five years - but they got there in the end. There are many problems with e-government in the UK, but arguably one of the biggest is that they never really caught the public's imagination by rolling out the obvious services early on. Much effort was spent on producing 'life events' portals and so on, but there was less emphasis on sitting down, working out what, say, the top ten most wanted online services were, and implementing these quickly and smoothly.

But there are signs that this is now starting to happen.

Update: the disc arrived two days later!

Edited on: Fri, Jan 13, 2006 11:02 AM

Who says national governments can't regulate the Internet? Not Borat

Posted on Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 10:23 PM by Andrew Chadwick


Who says national governments can't regulate the Internet?

Granted, this is an unusual case, not only because Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedian, but also because the government of Kazakhstan wants to exercise tight control over who gets to register sites using its country code top level domain. Briefly, it is insisting that the DNS servers which make the .kz domain work must be physically located in the country itself. A vivid illustration of how important control over the DNS is for censoring the Internet.

Reporters Without Borders have complained to ICANN, on the grounds that KazNIC, which runs the domain .kz, has only technical not political leverage.

Not everyone uses Google - and this has implications

Posted on Tue, Dec 13, 2005 at 6:17 PM by Andrew Chadwick

A useful post by Eszter Hargittai about some research conducted by an independent company on search engine use. The research concludes that wealthier, more experienced Internet users were more likely to use Google than those with lower incomes and less experience.

There are also some interesting reflections about whether experience of Internet use (measured in simple time chunks) is a good predictor of online skill acquisition. In other words, there are other variables apart from simply using the Internet for several years that condition what you are able to do with the technology. This reminds me a bit about the debate over 'surface' vs 'deep' learning among students in higher education.

Paul Hackett and the "digital insurgency"?

Posted on Tue, Dec 06, 2005 at 3:34 PM by Andrew Chadwick

A useful article at Motherjones chronicling the role of the net in the rise of the Democrat Paul Hackett.

See also a decent Wikipedia entry.

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