The government has come over all 21st century and has reiterated its position on e-government. By 2004 you'll be able to interact with all government departments in a secure online environment. You'll be able to pay your rates, obtain licences, be born or die and so on. The following year we may actually vote online as well. Questions have of course been raised about the security involved - will it be enough? - and whether this amounts to a government-sponsored ID system for every citizen, which it probably is. Most citizens will need to contact local government far more often than central, so it will be interesting to see how each territorial local authority (the official title for these agencies - note the acronym) get along with Wellington.
Best of all, buying will be centralised through this portal and government will finally see its e-procurement strategy come to light. This is good news for any business that wants to tender for a government contract - it will have to be online to do so for the most part and should make the process more transparent to those of us on the outside. I for one want to see the shopping list - tea cups through to frigates.
Government Goes Online - Nzoom
Your e-govt 'one-stop shop' - NZHerald
E-Government New Zealand Check it out for yourself!
What's all this then?
After a couple of stories pointed out just how stretched the Police are when it comes to cyber crimes, such as they are, its announced 10 more IT specialists will join the ranks of the e-crime lab. Labs will be running soon in Auckland and Wellington as well as one South Island location, probably Christchurch or Dunedin. The extra staff will help train staff for each district so there will soon be no shortage of police to look into electronic issues. Of course once the Crimes Amendment Bill (number six) is passed then the e-crime lab will need further funding as well as more staff to help with track down the new criminals in the world of hacking, virus writing and all the rest. Until then, these guys are the front line when it comes to electronic crime and it's high time we had more than just five of them.
And speaking of electronic crimes, the first case of online defamation is to be heard in Palmerston North. The Internet Society can't seem to get the parties to reach an out of court settlement so it's all go on the court case front. Wait till the judge hears this one.
Police e-crime lab to expand - IDGNet
Porn scam escapes police attention - IDGNet
Australasian Centre for Policing Research - Home of the report quoted in the story
Net defamation case tests law - NZHerald
3G - not so fast...
Yes, that's right. Just when you'd given up on 2.5G because of concerns over speed, radiation and cost it seems 3G isn't all it's cracked up to be either. Oh and it won't be available for some time as well, even in Japan.
Meanwhile, the only place you can really get high-speed cellular connectivity will be the Isle of Mann, famous for suicidally silly motorbike races and where all the people have three legs. It's true, and I'm sure it's not from excessive cellphone radiation.
Speaking of cellphones, Ericsson and Sony have signed a "memorandum of understanding" that should see them set up a joint venture company to make handsets and Alcatel has announced it too will outsource its manufacture of handsets. Vodafone New Zealand has also announced its continued growth in cellphone users - the vast majority of whom are pre-pay customers. Quite what will happen when the GPRS network is made commercially available is anyone's guess.