Rights in a digital world

I came across a letter to the editor in Trinidad Guardian Sep 16 titled "Using internet to abuse citizens' rights." It starts off by stating, "It is not possible for the Government- to force anyone to use merely optional tools like online and internet." He does make a good point. This is something that should be debated. Digital inclusion is very important. I am guessing that many persons in Trinidad are comfortable with using the digital processes because they understand the greater good. But there are those who are hesitant for various reasons.

The younger generation are tech savvy and can help the older geneation. Community centers can be places where other persons can go to get help. This is an opportunity for businesses to provide services that help persons. But these businesses would have to be certified as trusted. A digital inclusion and digital literacy strategy will help make sure that no one is left behind. Manual form processing and face to face can remain in place while we transition to digital. The banks do that. In Estonia online voting is an option and more and more persons are turning to this.

Everything has advantages and disadvantages. Then there are competing interests. The aim of going digital is for efficiency, cost savings, accountability and convenience among other things. Things that the same letter writer might complain about. I would ask the letter writer what are you willing to trade off? A disabled person might prefer the convenience of online. An older person might prefer face to face and manual forms.

The reality is that sometimes we have to make sacrifices. What sacrifices are we willing to make. When the pandemic hit us decisions had to be made to saves lives. We all came together and made calculated sacrifices. Sacrifices is related to priorities. What do we prioritise? That is why we have a government and a democracy to make these country decisions. Now that we understand how important that function is. We as citizens (like Mr E Galy) have a responsibility to choose our leaders wisely. See my blog post on how I thought about this.


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