Feb 08 2011

Irish Green Party Enters the Clouds

Category: Cloud Computing,Education,eGovernmentTeknovis @ 6:51 pm

It is election time in Ireland at the moment, but I am not going to discuss politics. However, I can still write about the political manifestos as long as they relate to technology. The policies that caught my attention today come from the Irish Green Party, and they are contained in We will recover if we play to our strengths.

The first interesting policy is:

Transfer all public services to cloud computing

This really makes me wonder if the author understands what cloud computing means! “Public Services” in the election context generally means tangible services that are available to the public, such as policing, health, and education. I am unclear how health care will be provided by cloud computing :D

Seriously, is it meant that all government computing will be performed in the cloud? This raises many interesting questions:

  • Will it be hosted in a single cloud (with potential vendor lock-in)? Or will it be distributed across several clouds (and potentially loose economies of scale)?
  • Will it be a public cloud (and hence how will security concerns be addressed)? Or will it be a private cloud (and will this still deliver environmental benefits as new infrastructure is used)?
  • Where will the cloud be hosed (in order to protect citizen’s privacy rights)?
  • Would it be more beneficial to focus on delivering better eServices, instead of changing the backend infrastructure?

If I was a cloud provider, I would probably be very excited about the opportunities here (as long as I ignore the political opinion polls).

Another policy that caught my attention is:

Invest €70m in web training for 20,000 unemployed people who can then work to web-enable Irish business

Hmmm… I think that I would instead focus on improving the take-up of science and computing for those already in education at all levels.

Provide access for the private sector to Government data

Interesting… Was the Green Party not involved in curtailing Freedom of Information rights during the last few years?

Finally, the last policy that caught my attention is:

Roll out ultra fast broadband Exemplar network nationwide

The Exemplar network is very exciting (see Exemplar Network), but I do not think that it is ready for a nation-wide commercial deployment yet. Also, I do not think that this would be the best usage of this technology.

I think that the cynics will wonder why the Green Party did not do these wonderful things during its time in power :|

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Jan 11 2011

Fine Gael Website

Category: eGovernment,SecurityTeknovis @ 8:06 pm

Oh dear – it has been a really bad few days for the recently launched new Fine Gael website: finegael2011.com

Indeed, things have been going from bad (Hackers deface Fine Gael website) to worse (Thousands of users’ data stolen in Fine Gael site hack)!

I wonder will there be many more security breaches as the political parties try to use the Internet more in the coming months in preparation for the general election this year.


Nov 13 2010

How Enterprise Ireland Spends the Taxpayers’ Money

Category: eGovernment,EntrepreneurshipTeknovis @ 10:23 am

Interesting reading reading about the spending habits of Enterprise Ireland, but I am not sure how expected this is – Enterprise Ireland spent most of funding on itself.

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Aug 27 2010

How to Spend 25,000,000,000 Euro

Category: Business,eGovernmentTeknovis @ 6:37 pm

I read this fascinating article during the week: 100 ways to spend the Anglo €25,000,000,000.

It is really sad and depressing to see how the Irish Government decided to spend all this money, when they could have used it to make us become the world leader in almost any area of science and technology :(

What a waste!

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Mar 29 2010

Irish Prime Minister to Tweet

Category: eGovernmentTeknovis @ 11:09 am

The Irish Prime Minister is to start using Twitter according to Ireland’s first Twittering Taoiseach to tweet to the nation.

I think that many people would argue that using alternative forms of communication is pointless when you do not have a message to communicate :(

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Aug 04 2009

Technology in Irish Courts

Category: eGovernmentTeknovis @ 9:15 pm

I have been very busy recently, so I did not have enough time to blog regularly :( One of the reasons I was busy was that I had to appear in court :o (Luckily I was a witness, and not a defendant! Ultimately, I did not have to testify, because the defendant pleaded guilty :o)

I found the whole experience fascinating on many levels, and not something that I would like to experience regularly!

I was also struck by the complete lack of technology! This manifested itself in two ways:

  • Every solicitor carried between 2cm and 20cm of stacked A4 pages!
  • The majority of the questions that the judge asked were very simple, and if he had access to electronic versions of the solicitors’ documents he would not have needed to ask! This would have saved everybody a lot of time!

I wonder will this be any different in 100 years!

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May 10 2009

Irish Internet Tax

Category: eGovernmentTeknovis @ 9:09 am

I read an interesting article about the Irish Government attempting to indirectly tax all computers with Internet access earlier this week. If this is true, I think that it would be a disastrous decision for Ireland!

The full article is New Irish Internet Tax?, and there is more discussion in New Irish Internet Tax?.

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May 09 2009

Irish Income Tax Calculator

Category: eGovernmentTeknovis @ 11:20 am

I recently came across a useful Irish income tax calculator called taxcalc.eu.

It has been updated recently to reflect the continuously changing income tax rates. However, I cannot attest to its accuracy :o

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Apr 25 2009

Irish Government Abandons eVoting

Category: eGovernment,SecurityTeknovis @ 9:03 pm

The Irish Government has finally decided to abandon the badly conceived eVoting system that it purchased several years ago!

Ireland uses a proportional representation system, and it is not uncommon for counting to take several days. Therefore, the eVoting system was intended to produce almost instant results. However, it was determined by an independent commission that the system did not provide a sufficiently secure and verifiable audit trial.

For more details about this story see Gormley scraps e-voting system, or the harshly written Ireland scraps evoting in favour of ‘stupid old pencils’.

I am delighted with this decision, because I think that the purchased eVoting system would have provided fewer verifiable audit facilities than the current paper based system. This is a pity, especially when you consider that a well specified system could have provided a significantly more verifiable audit trial. For example, every voter could have been supplied with a unique random identifier after he/she voted. The voter could then use this number online later to determine this his/her vote was correctly recorded, and contributed to the overall result.

Perhaps the best feature of the paper based voting system is that it provides very entertaining viewing :D

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Apr 23 2009

Internet Censorship by Belgian Government

Category: eGovernment,InternetTeknovis @ 4:43 pm

I just read that the Belgian Government has ordered 17 ISPs to block access to four websites. According to the largest ISP, this is the first time that this has occurred. The censored websites in this case contain details of convicted paedophiles. For more details about this see Belgium govt blocks access to website.

In general, I am in favour of making information public. However, I am also a strong supporter of privacy. So I do not know yet if publishing this information is good or bad.

However, I do think that trying to block access to these websites by forcing ISPs to police network traffic is both stupid and ineffective. In my opinion, this type of action only raises the profile of the censored websites! I suppose that it is typical of pushing a political solution into a technical arena.

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