E-envoy admits RIP act mistakes, calls for risk taking

E-envoy Andrew Pinder criticized the government's introduction of its Regulation of Investigatory Powers legislation (RIPA) and...

E-envoy Andrew Pinder criticized the government's introduction of its Regulation of Investigatory Powers legislation (RIPA) and admitted that his office has an "awkward" relationship with local authorities.

He made his remarks during the keynote speech at the GC2001 event in London on Tuesday.

"My role and my office requires enabling legislation such as the Electronic Communications Act, and regulatory legislation as with RIPA," said Pinder. "Unfortunately RIPA was a clumsily introduced and unfriendly piece of law enforcement, which caused quite an outcry. I am glad to say modifications have been made to make it friendlier."

The e-envoy claims that the UK's change to e-government could be as significant to the country as the industrial revolution. "The Industrial Revolution put us on top of the world and we can strive for this sort of success again. The change is about making the country stronger, creating a better economy and providing a better service," he said.

He stressed the importance of local government in the move to e-government but admitted that his lack of power at local level was a problem.

"I have authority in central government, but not locally," said Pinder. "This creates and awkward relationship between us and local authority. However the full picture must include local authorities and we are giving them strong support."

During his speech Pinder also called for an end to the blame culture in government to allow public servants to take risks in pushing towards Tony Blair's target of complete electronic service by 2005. He said, "I don't want people to be cautious in going for targets. I want to praise the risk takers, even if they may fail at times."

Bruce Ackland.

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