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eGov and the People’s Access

smitchells Icon Posted by Shireen Mitchell

April 10th, 2008

The FCC has finally approved an emergency text messaging system. It has taken two years to approve and has not been implemented. This system will allow a government agency (it has not been determined which agency) to use SMS technology to send emergency alerts to mobile devices. Sending information through mobile devices is one way to reach those that rely on public access but it doesn’t address the lack of technology skills among those who need to fill out applications for jobs, FEMA, emergency housing and other government services online.

I have been responding to eGovernment initiatives since my return from the eChicago Conference where I had been asked to provide one of the keynotes: “Public Access Computer Labs: Struggles, Victories, and Forwarding the Agenda.” There were vibrant discussions about the government’s role and what communities, technology centers and libraries are doing. Although there are exciting and innovative things going on I felt that there were some myths about how eGov affected “every day people.” I decided to post a video log answering one of the Lt. Governor’s staff’s question about whether the government was a little disconnected with some of the needs of the community that they are trying to serve. View my unedited response here (7:27):


The City of Houston is one government agency moving towards addressing this issue (1:31).

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