Friday, November 04, 2005

IT in Government Conference

Tom Worthington having iris scanned

Greetings from the IT in Government conference in Canberra. One of the gadgets on display is an iris recognition system for security applications. I put my face about 30 cm from what looks like a digital camera and the system scanned the iris of my eye using a infrared.

But as well as the toys, the conference has serious sessions with Chief Information Officers (CIOs) of government agencies and industry speakers. One item in my "live" report from last year's conference, which has been in the news recently is Customs Cargo Management:

... Customs are rebuilding systems conceived in the 1960s to integrate industry and customs. At this point a theme in the day became apparent: defence, immigration and customs all have real time, sensitive systems which have to link internationally and interface securely with other organizations. The new customs system received press criticism but worked well in practice. The key issue was not the software development, but helping clients with implementing digital certificates to use the system. The system receives 85,000 incoming messages and sends 200,000 outbound per day. It uses SMTP e-mail protocol for simplicity. The system is more than 23,000 Function points in size. ...
See: "Ebusiness, Egovernment, Exports: Implementing The Customs Cargo Management Reengineering System" at:
Presentations from this year's conference will be online tomorrow at the conference web site.

Edward Mandla, ACS President opened this year's conference with entertaining stories about a recent Australian IT delegation to India. He argued that "left brain" routine administrative processes will increasingly be moved (out-sourced and off-shored) to India and China. This will include most legal and accounting jobs. He argued Australia can compete with "right brained" creative jobs, including IT ones.

Jonathan Palmer, CIO of the Australian Bureau of Statistics talked about recent work on inter-operability in government. A draft "Information Interoperability Framework" has been prepared and should be public early next year. Work is underway on security and archiving of email. He showed us the National Data Network. I previously attended a demonstration of the NDN at the ABS.

Graham Fry, CIO of Attorney Generals talked about the diverse work of the department. Apart from high profile national security issues, AGs also looks after copyright. Still to come are the CIOs of Immigration, CSIRO and the Commonwealth Government. Presentation notes may be made available later by the ACS, but you really needed to be here. ;-)

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