BC Government Innovation in eID + Citizen Engagement.

I wrote an article for Re:ID about the BC Government’s Citizen Engagement process that they did for their eID system.

CoverHere is the PDF: reid_spring_14-BC


Because of my decade long advocacy for the rights and dignity of our digital selves, I have become widely known as “Identity Woman.” The Government of British Columbia invited me to participate as an industry specialist/expert in its citizen consultation regarding the province’s Services Card. I want to share the story of BC’s unique approach, as I hope that more jurisdictions and the effort I am most involved with of late, the U.S. government’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, will choose to follow it.

The Canadian Province of British Columbia engaged the public about key issues and questions the BC Services Card raised. The well-designed process included a panel of randomly selected citizens. They met face- to-face, first to learn about the program, then to deliberate key issues and finally make implementation recommendations to government.

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Health Insurance (un) Happiness

I was surfing around looking for people who had blogged about the IIW. I found this post by Sean Coon about Health Insurance. He had this lovely quote to start the post off: “If you’re self-employed, demand a really good health plan. and if your boss won’t listen, quit. That’ll show yourself.”

Just this week I got the letter from my health insurance company saying that my health insurance would go up to $570 a month from $430. I shifted age brackets and it is just that time of year when fees go up. I can’t really get insurance on the market cause I am ‘uninsurable’ I am stuck in this plan. I feel lucky that I make enough money (at least right now) that I can absorb the increase. This cost is why millions of American’s don’t have health insurance.

Information and Governance – Disaster and Disease

If government cannot inform, there is no government.”Burce Sterling highlights this as the pull quote from the below. I would tend to agree and wonder how it informs our work in considering governance for the next layer of the internet.
This is from Laurie Garrett “the emergent-disease guru” who’s comments in an e-mail titled Hurricane Katrina Analysis – CFR Global Health Program.
To read the full text hop over here.

6) Mental Health issues AND lack of information increasing them.

The mental health of hundreds of thousands of people must now be a priority. Uprooted, homeless, jobless, rootless and in many cases grieving for lost loved ones: These people will all suffer for a very long time. A key to their recovery is, again, a lesson from 9/11: information…Knowing what is going on ‘back home’ is essential to mental health recovery. We have been in disasters in poor countries where wild rumors flowed among the poor for months, each one sparking a fresh round of anxiety and fear. If government cannot inform, there is no government.

-) Establishing Trust between Government and People to abate public health crises in the aftermath.

I found myself recalling the way the Chinese people responded to the SARS
epidemic. Because they knew that their government had lied to them many
times in the past and had covered up cases in the capital, people turned
away from official government sources of information. Rumors spread like
wildfire via cell phone text messaging, spawning a mass exodus from Beijing
of tens of thousands of people. The medical system in China is notoriously
corrupt and the peasants stay away from hospitals unless it is a matter of
life and death. When government told the masses to go to the hospitals if
they had fevers, the Chinese refused. The SARS situation spiraled out of
control in large part because the people had long-standing, sound reasons
for distrusting their government. Public health collapses if the bond of
trust between government and its people breaks, or never exists. I saw the
same thing with plague in India in ’94.

7) Poliitcal Backlash

America, and this government, is going to witness an enormous political backlash from these events, stemming primarily from the African American community, if steps are not boldly taken to demonstrate less judgment, and greater assistance, for the black poor of the region. Cries of racism will be heard. In every disaster we have been engaged in we have witnessed a similar sense by the victims of disasters that they were being singled out, and ignored by their government, because of their ethnicity, religion or race. The onus is on government to prove them wrong.

5) Debrise – where to put it all?

We have never in history tried to dispose of this much waste. It is hoped that before any officials rush off thinking of how to burn or dump a few hundred thousand boats, houses and buildings, some careful consideration is given to recycling that material for construction of future levees, dams, and foundations. Looking at aerial images of the coastline one sees an entire forest worth of lumber, and the world’s largest cement quarry. No doubt tens of thousands of the now unemployed of the region could be hired for a reclamation effort that would be rational in scale and intent. It would be horrible if all that debris were simply dumped or burned without any thought to its utility.

8) Continued support of medical personal in the region.

Much more thought needs to be given immediately to the needs of medical and psychiatric responders located just outside of the region. The patient flow they are now receiving is minuscule compared to the tidal wave coming their way

1) Mosquitos

2) CDC warning about Vibrio cholerae

3) Sewage

4) Lack of Pharmaceutical supplies