I am a big fan of web2.0 and trasnparency but I also like to explore the dark side of it, as you know from previous posts.
I am seeing a small dangerous trend taking place now. Governments seem to start understanding the power of transparency and to use it in their internal fightings. In particular, they start to implement transparency NOT ON HOW PUBLIC MONEY IS SPENT, but on WORKERS’ SALARIES.
Here are the two signals:
– the Italian Minister for Innovation published one year ago as a flagship initiative the salary paid to all consultants of the Innovation Agency, without any reference to what were the obligation linked to the salary. So you have plenty of the people on the top gaining 50K-100K Euros and you didn;’t know if this was for a small study or for a year’s work (see my previous post)
– the Basque government, in the middle of a labour conflict with the civil servants, published an announcement on the newspapers containing the details of the work permission allowed to civil servants in order to turn citizens against the civil servants (through administraciones en red).
Of course both information are and should be fully public. But one thing is to make it public, another to use it against individuals, especially while transparency is not applied to the main activities of government. For example, in the Italian case, one can find no information on how public money is spent on large scale project like the 80m Euros to create public internet access point.
This is even more striking when you add the italian initative to publish data on the declared revenue of each citizen.
I see a pattern here of government leveraging transparency not to empower individuals but to manipulate them.
Now I would say, either as an Alorza “commandment” or as a William Heath’s “WIBBI”:
Government should start to implement transparency on the way public money is spent and politicians act, and not on information on individuals and civil servants.
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