April 2008

Security sans freedom?

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Mike Godwin in his brilliant book “cyber rights, defending free speech in the digital age” alludes to the issue of rights and freedom in cyberspace. The issues at stake that he challenges include a wide array of topics like forgeries, copyright abuse, pseudonyms, right to privacy, cryptography, security, hidden agendas, etc. Yet, there is a critical need for e-Governance programmes across the world to consider them as critical factors to ensure smooth operations of the governments when they move from a physical office to a cyber-operated services at all levels. These are issues that get debated under the platform of Internet Governance.

Privacy laws and citizens include a fine balance between privacy and security. In a commentary Thomas B. Riley, with over two decades of international experience shares the importance of maintaining this balance.

Several new technologies and security tools are being developed, these include IP access control to the doors, RFID technology, digital signature encryption and verification systems, identity protection, database securities, etc.

Central to the implementation of secure services of e-Government to its citizens, clients or intra-departmental processes is the need to build capacities both at the national level and in the state/provincial levels. This is critical to ensure that the transition is smooth and fulfils the mandate of good governance.

Success stories from the Indian Railways in its use of information technology servicing the largest railway network is worth a special mention. There has been both back-end and front-end integration of the nationalised services and it ranges from procurement to efficient tracking and controls to servicing the citizens. The Internet Ticketing Project, IRCTC is the biggest e-Commerce venture in India, seeing an annual growth of 300%. In this issue we are covering three articles providing a perspective of the Railway industry.

Do let us know how you enjoyed this issue!

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