Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act is probably the biggest hindrance to e-government efforts in Pakistan. As of now, anything declared as classified by the federal government is considered out of bounds. Technically, this means each and every piece of information could be excluded from public scrutiny. It does not take a lawyer to figure out how such vague laws could be misused.

The e-government efforts seem like a mere icing on the cake to me. Even though they do not lack substance are generally being implemented using sound technological solutions, their implementation is still questionable -if not objectionable. For one, technology does not promise a 100 percent solution to our democratic woes. As technology rules go : it is 20 percent about the technology and 80 percent about the people and processes. Hence, we would not accomplish much if the same indifferent and callous attitudes are remained intact. Character building and personality rejuvenation are needed before any more investments in e-government solutions.


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