Public sector digital tech issues that need lobbying

This thread is a place to track all the various public sector IT issues that we could make useful public comments on.

For example, the debacles that people like Phil Pennington at RNZ are regularly exposing. Ideally, NZOSS would be putting out press releases every time one of these is revealed, and forming relationships with the journalists who work on these stories regularly so we start to get approached for comment.

Somebody at the Department of Internal Affairs has been acting as a (presumably unpaid) sales shill for Duon AI, and trying to push their appallingly inaccurate tech on Ministry of Social Development. So Duon can get regular payments of public money to improve their own proprietary tech.

Pennington concludes;

“The government wants Identity Check to become the go-to tech for proving everyone’s identity online, to make access to hundreds of services, and doing e-business, easier and more secure.”

Then it needs to engage with ethical technologists about how to build a system from Free Code software. One that doesn’t lock us into dependence on private companies and their proprietary technology. Another part of building ethical technology is considering potential social effects right at from start, and designing to mitigate them. Which requires engaging with affected communities from day one.

“Highway cameras with automated number plate recognition technology can be used for congestion charging.”

… and also for mass surveillance of people’s movements around the city, unless there are both very strict laws that govern what can and can’t be done with images from the cameras, and a technical design that actively limits the technical reuse of those images to what is legally allowed, and respectful of citizens’ rights under the BORA;

“Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure, whether of the person, property, or correspondence or otherwise.”

This is an example of something we could work with NZ Council of Civil Liberties on.

Also from the RNZ article;

"Waka Kotahi was upgrading the network with new cameras.

A board paper in 2022 said a related back-office software upgrade ‘is necessary to ensure that Waka Kotahi has a supported system, and to provide functionality for upcoming toll roads as well as to support new capability that may be required, eg congestion charging’."