Are politicians clueless about technology?

Summary:weekly roundup Do politicians read blogs, chat on IM, and contribute to wikis? According to a former government official, they probably don't.

weekly roundup Do politicians read blogs, chat on IM, and contribute to wikis? According to a former government official, they probably don't.

Chris Patten, the former governor of Hong Kong, last week lashed out at governments which he said were to blame for a host of botched IT-related legislation and projects implemented in recent years. Patten disparaged politicians for their lack of basic understanding of technology issues, and pointed to the U.K. government's ID card initiative as an example of a reckless IT decision.

"Politicians have no sound grasp of technology issues--but politicians don't necessarily have a profound grasp of any issue. They rely on advisors for information... You have to hope they're well advised," he said.

If Patten is right, this could be cause for concern. Would a country's finance and trade ministers be as effective in growing the economy if they didn't have a grasp of the basic rules of economics?

Most IT journalists I know don't have a background in engineering or computer science. And like politicians who rely on their army of advisors to provide relevant information, journalists get their data from vendors and other market players. But, the onus is still on journalists to acquire at least a fundamental understanding of how a piece of technology works before they can discuss or write about it accurately, and objectively.

The same principle should be applied to any other job, be it that of a politician, CEO or janitor.

In other news headlines this week, find out what the Chinese government has denied doing. Read how Symantec CEO John Thompson is prepping the security vendor for the future, and why search giant Google is now gunning for wikis. Also, is there now proof that open source does indeed give better returns on investment?

Topics: Tech & Work, Government : Asia


Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 15 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings. Eileen majored i... Full Bio

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