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By Helen Margetts;

This e-book explores the massive effect of data expertise at the governments of the united kingdom and US over the past two decades, interpreting computerization as a device of presidency and significant coverage implications.

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Information Technology in Government: Britain and America

This ebook explores the massive effect of knowledge expertise at the governments of the united kingdom and US over the past two decades, studying computerization as a device of presidency and significant coverage implications.

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Extra resources for Information Technology in Government: Britain and America

Example text

Input devices developed from writing to punch cards to a film optical sensing device developed in the 1950s, increasing the transfer of data to 70,000 items a minute and, in the 1980s, transmitting the data over long distances to the computers at Bureau headquarters. Thus the Bureau of the Census and the computer systems that it uses have grown up together. In Britain, too, information technology has increased the potential for nodal detecting tools. The first computer was used for the census in 1961 (although punch cards and mechanical sorting were introduced in 1911).

Potential moves towards a ‘control state’ are more likely to be facilitated through the creation of de facto national databanks, an almost accidental by-product of the relationship between effecting and detecting tools, than through deliberate efforts of authority-wielding agencies. For the more general organisational capacity of government, information systems have played a key role in replacing tranches of government bureaucracy and introducing new armies of technical specialists into government.

Thus the 1980s brought the reversal of a previous trend: the gap was widening between what government could potentially do with computers and what it was actually doing. Both governments had lost an early role as innovators, except in a few discrete instances (outlined in Chapter 1), and developments in the public sector were in general lagging behind those of the private sector. The widening gap between public and private use of information technology caused political concern in both countries.

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