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Takeways on m-gov: Govt should not do it all; free up data; facilitate decentralized innovation

Today I spoke at the Future Gov, Sri Lanka conference. After a long time, I had a technical glitch (I raely do, because I work with simple slides and I go early and test; I did all that but the test was not done on the conference machine, fully. Not for the lack of asking).

Anyway, here are the slides and the video that was not shown.

I made a case for governments freeing up basic data on a non-discriminatory basis. That there should be data and freedom for m applications developers to use the data and develop innovative products and services. I also pointed out that ICT solutions had to be accompanied by complementary solutions. In case of the example I used, agricultural market information, these were cold storage (could be provided by the government or by the private sector) and forward/futures markets (possibly required the government to lead and shape the environment).

I was surprised by a comment made by the moderator, an employee of ICTA. He said that my statement about SLT exerting undue control over the cable station during the panel discussion was evidence that freedom of speech existed in Sri Lanka! Wow and wow again.

I have criticized the remnants of market power in the Sri Lanka telecom sector in multiple places on the record. I have even publicly criticized his own ICT agency. I do not need to exercise my freedom of speech to say what theory and evidence plainly says is wrong: continuing to allow an incumbent operator to control an essential facility and engage in discriminatory behavior against its competitors. I can only feel sorry for people make such silly statements at public events.


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