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Australia Communications Government

Australian 'Electronic Pigeon Hole' Could Replace Gov't Snail Mail 116

angry tapir writes "Australia's federal Opposition will look to create a national government-funded 'electronic pigeon hole' for all Australians in an effort to cut the costs of 'snail mail' communication, if they are returned to power at the next election. According to Opposition communications minister Malcolm Turnbull, the pigeon hole would effectively act as a life-long single source of storage for communications between each citizen and government. The service would be free for Australians in exchange for their agreeing to no longer receive paper-based communications from government agencies and other related organizations."
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Australian 'Electronic Pigeon Hole' Could Replace Gov't Snail Mail

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  • Re:as lon as (Score:4, Insightful)

    by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @04:04AM (#37116498)

    as long as they tie the delivery of e-services up good and tight so that it mus be always available to every citizen, where the words always and every are clearly defined to do any lawyer schmuck in the ass if he tries to remove those services with no replacement and leave Australians up shit creek,

    No, even that's bad. The whole concept of an e-service pigeonhole is bad. Here's why:

    With paper based communication, the onus of delivery is on the government. If they want to talk to you, then they have to make a reasonable effort to contact you (via registered mail, etc.).

    With a pigeonhole, (electronic or otherwise), the onus is reversed. Now if they want to talk to you, they just send something to the pigeonhole whenever. It's up to you to make an effort to read what's in your pigeonhole regularly, to keep up to date on their intentions.

    To give just one example, say you are being billed. If they send you mail and you don't pay, you could claim that you didn't receive the bill. If you're on holiday, and they send you registered mail, then there might not be anyone at the house to accept it.

    Now suppose you have a pigeonhole. They send the bill there, and expect you to find it. Whatever you do, even if you're on holiday, you've received it and it's your fault if you didn't read it in time.

  • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @04:38AM (#37116652)
    Changing the medium also changes responsibility. The postal service is a push system, a pigeon hole is a pull system. With the post, it's the sender's responsibility to make the communication occur, with a pigeonhole it's the receiver's responsibility to make the communication occur. And that will induce all sorts of legal changes over time, because the two modes are just not equivalent. Changing the medium in this case tips the power balance in favour of the government.

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry