There is, however, a reason to be even more gloomy about government technology than the committee’s collection of mid-term backbenchers imply. The government – and particularly Home Secretary David Blunkett – have become dangerously obsessive about data-centric solutions to any social issue.
In the old days, political reaction to crime scares tended to be tough-sounding but often half-baked responses like boot camps. Now it’s to build a new database.
Computing deserves full marks for asking the right question:
Does the UK have the culture, the legislation or the infrastructure for such dramatic change? We think not.
Perhaps more importantly, there has been almost no debate about privacy, civil liberties, safeguards or security. Those who have been doing most of the shouting about IT government reform are obsessive techies.
The issue is not just whether the technology works – it’s why we are using it.