Policy briefs

Poll: Risk-sharing favored

A new national poll found that the public wants the federal government to offer additional liability protection to information technology companies that provide homeland security solutions for the government.

The poll, commissioned by the Information Technology Association of America and released Sept. 10, found that the public supports quick action to resolve legal liability issues and put in place the best possible homeland security technologies.

One of the issues holding up the homeland security bill making its way through Congress is whether the federal government should protect IT companies from liability problems. A survey of 800 registered voters found that they supported risk-sharing by a better than 2-to-1 margin. Half of those surveyed said they approved of the way Congress is handling homeland security, but more than half said that any legislation creating a new Homeland Security Department would be a failure if it did not address the liability issue.

South Dakota thinks paperless

South Dakota last month became one of the first states to make almost all of its government forms available online, and by the end of the year, officials aim to enable users to complete all of those offerings online.

For now, forms that can't be filled out online can be downloaded as PDF documents and printed, so people can complete them by hand and mail them.

The state's Bureau of Information and Telecommunications developed the online forms system in-house for less than $200,000.

Once the system is completed, the state's focus on e-government will probably "turn inward," said Otto Doll, bureau commissioner, to persuade agencies to make more electronic transactions and use less paper.

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