Lassman Testifies on Electronic Government Services Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Legislation under consideration by the Ohio House of Representatives, the Electronic Government Services Act (H.B. 482), would improve privacy protection while taking steps to stave off government’s impulse to compete with the private sector in the digital space. That is the view of Kent Lassman of The Progress & Freedom Foundation who testified in Columbus today.
“It appears that the likely effect of H.B. 482 is to encourage socially positive changes – like better management practices and more secure public data systems – while preventing far-reaching and costly encroachments on citizen sovereignty in the relationship between citizen and state,” Lassman told the State Government committee.
Citing a study by Thomas M. Lenard and James W. Harper of The Progress & Freedom Foundation critical of government’s entry into online tax preparation, Lassman indicated support for H.B. 482’s effort to provide a framework for e-government stipulating that, in his words, “the public sector must not compete with the private sector.”
“The Internet – and all of the attendant changes in other information technologies – has not suddenly made government-operated businesses more efficient than their private-sector competitors,” he said. “Fortunately, this truth animates the legislation before you today.”
“Without question, the adoption of digital technologies by our governments has increased efficiency and lowered costs” for both citizens and government, Lassman told the panel. However “information about identity, activities, assets and preferences are also more accessible to the public, more at risk to ‘bad actors’ and generally less private. It is entirely appropriate to develop relevant data process for state agencies.”
Lassman, who wrote the highly publicized 2001 Digital State report, is research fellow and director of the Digital Policy Network at The Progress & Freedom Foundation.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.