When it comes to government infrastructure it seems a great many people fear it going digital. For me this is a real melon scratcher.
Some comments I’ve seen say things like “there’ll always be people who can’t use computers”. Perhaps that’s true, but there’s also people who are illiterate. It’s half way through 2013. Basic computing skills are expected.
Eventually the older generations who refuse to learn aren’t going to be around in any meaningful numbers. I mention this simply due to this fatalistic “there’ll always be…” statement. There won’t be – times will change and the basic adult skill set will include computing. It already does with the exception of a few outliers.
Another thing that seems to hold such digitisation back is fear. The privacy and security of the data seems a major concern lots of the time. I’m not sure how a well implemented security solution is perceived as less safe than a bunch of papers (or copies of papers) that need to be physically guarded at all times. There’s different challenges, certainly, but there’s no real reason that security should be an issue as long as we make that an actual priority.
Personally I can’t wait for the UK government to get a better handle on how they handle their websites. I’ve seen things about Netscape Navigator as a browser on some of them, for gods’ sakes!