Trust issue with access to services via internet

The country’s chief digital expert has admitted that Government departments and bodies need to earn public trust, so that people can engage with public services online with the same ease as in the commercial world.

Trust issue with access to services via internet

Dr Stephen Brennan, the Government’s chief digital adviser, who was attending National Digital Week, also said Ireland should aim to have up to 80% of its businesses selling online, rather than the current 23% that do so.

Asked if the system applied to water charges was an example of a lack of digital linking between State bodies, Dr Brennan said: “I think a lot of Government services are an example of that.”

He said Ireland needed to have a debate about how much online interactivity it wanted, involving issues such as data protection, child safety, and the role of digital in education.

“We need to have more debate, more engagement, otherwise it is being defined for us, what the Internet does for us,” he said.

In relation to the controversy this week over the Bank of Ireland U-turn on customer lodgements, he said in principle the bank’s idea had been a good one, but that it needed to be handled sensitively.

“In Government we certainly have work to do in terms of creating a concentration on digital,” he said.

As for public services, he said in an ideal world a person’s PPS number and another unique identifier should be enough for that individual to access all State services, instead of using multiple log-ins.

“In Ireland, I don’t think we are ready for that because we are not trusting enough of Government. Trust must be earned.”

Meanwhile, Skibbereen, which is hosting National Digital Week, received a jobs boost yesterday when Spearline Labs, the world’s largest toll and toll-free number testing provider, announced that it is hiring 20 people as it looks to double its workforce over the next 18 months.

The announcement reportedly marks the single-biggest jobs boost for the West Cork town in more than 30 years.

Kevin Buckley, CEO of Spearline, said: “Technology knows no boundaries and as long as the product is innovative and fulfils a market need then a business can thrive in any location.”

It was also announced that Skibbereen is to become the 51st town to be included in the national rollout of SIRO super speed broadband.

Ludgate@Skibbereen has already been connected to SIRO’s 1 Gigabit network in partnership with Vodafone but now construction on the network for the whole town will begin next summer.

It becomes the eighth area in Co Cork to form part of SIRO’s rollout, joining Carrigaline, Ballincollig, Cobh, Mallow, Midleton, Little Island and Cork City.

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