With another Independence Day holiday behind the United States, it gave us all time for the traditional side of celebrating, including hot dogs, apple pie, parades and fireworks. It is also a time when many reflect on the freedoms and rights we are lucky to be living under, especially when so many around the World do not have these inherent rights and freedoms. Remember those freedoms also allow us to roam the Internets freely (mostly).
This Independence day made me think about the Gov 2.0 Revolution. I have said it is a good revolution, and it is. It is one sweeping the Nation, and globally too for that matter. It is a revolution I am proud to be a part of, and one that will be bringing a lot of positive changes even as soon as this year.
But with all the excitement and hope for trans-formative technologies making big changes in our civic world; there are also some areas we all need to be aware of and looking at.
Remember the “V” chip?
The nifty device mandated by an act of Congress to prohibit the transmission of violent and or adult level maturity in digital content? Well of course it was never a raging success but does work and there have been lots of offshoots and varieties of parental controls built since. It is actually a great idea, even though it was bitterly fought over by privacy and civil rights advocates. I have a feeling something similar may soon have to be developed for the Government 2.0 space.
But the question arises: Do we need a “G” chip?
What, you are now asking could that possibly be? As of right now there is obviously no such thing as a “G” chip.
So come with me on a short visit to the near future:
- How do you know when you go from a commercial site to a government site? This will become a more complicated issue as the Governments start rolling out new sites with commercial elements on them.
- How do you know if the Government site you are on is using persistent tracking cookies or other web information services to not only identify you but deliver appropriate services?
- How do you know if the Government site you are on has partnerships with another company; say, Google? Whose terms of service are you under?
My anti-virus program uses red and green lights to indicate safety of my system and safety of websites I may be visiting. Perhaps we need a “G” chip dashboard with a similar layout. One that lets you know you are crossing into Government owned e-space, and one that alerts you to different persistent tracking techniques, and one that alerts you to multiple Terms of Services on one site.
As Governments rush head on into constructing their own Gov 2.0 online platforms, applications and services; care needs to be taken to consider the privacy, industrial and personal issues raised by this gigantic shift in civic service delivery. The “G” Chip would be a start in the right direction.