Government in action: 1.3M mobile plans; Mexico's Internet tax; England's crime map

Mobile plans for everyone with 1.3 million options; Mexico's new Internet tax will be 3 percent; and the U.K. has a new web site map showing were every crime has occurred for the last 3 years.
Written by Doug Hanchard, Contributor

A roundup of government news...

Mobile plans for everyone with a few options

You want a wireless cell phone package. Which one to choose from? Maybe you want Caller ID and a long distance package that's only to all of the UK and not International because you don't call there that often. You text / SMS messages now and then, perhaps they have a package of 20 per month or something. There should be something available right?

Turns out, you have more than a few. The BBC has reported that mobile wireless carriers in the U.K. offer over 1.3 million different plans! Talk about chaos in the billing department. But wait, there's more: Turns out that is an option in your plan too. One should think there might be a job or two available in Ofcom's office with all the complaints they are receiving.

I shudder to think of the product manager's job in each of the carriers marketing department is like. 1.3 million is more than times the population of Luxembourg!

Mexico's new Internet tax will be 3%

Mexico's federal government, which is reeling under revenue constraints and reliant on oil exports, is taking the plunge and taxing a new commodity market, internet access. Reported by Reuters yesterday, the concern is how it will impact low income users given the current economy. There are approximately 27 million internet users in the country. But a large portion of the internet users access the internet using shared resources such library or internet cafe. Canada already has a federal user tax, the GST. Mexico didn't single out Interet taxes and announced a variety of new ones. Can the U.S. be far behind with trillion dollar federal deficits?

The U.K. has a new web site map showing were every crime has occurred for the last 3 years

Your home is your castle, as the old saying goes. But just how safe is it and where can you get information about the safety of your neighborhood? What crimes are on the rise or finally being reduced? Those questions are often asked by many people that live in a community. You used to be able to go down to your local police station and find out. Real Estate agents never had that information handy for you and often was downplayed for obvious negative outcomes that might occur. And besides, how up to date were the information and statistics anyway. You were also taking up valuable officer and administration time looking after your request.

The U.K. Home Office has launched a new website showing every county and city's crime rate and how it compares to the average for the area. You simply click and zoom in on what area you want information on and you'll have an overview of what the current crime rates are. They've color-coded the different crime levels and classified various types of crime. They indicate how many of each type of incident has occurred.

It will be interesting to see if there will be linkages to values of homes and businesses in the coming years.  Even more important will be the community reaction and what they do with this information. Local safety may actually improve with people desiring to participate in preventing crime. Only time will tell.

Created by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), the site's goals are to create awareness for a number of different initiatives.

Policing and Crime Minister David Hanson MP said:

“Crime maps are a key part of delivering neighbourhood policing and giving communities access to information like this not only improves public confidence but ensures police are responding to local people’s needs.

It certainly offers some insights for citizens about their community and what the issues are. While the map doesn't zero in to where the actual crimes occurred such as a street address, it does do a very good job of breaking it into each Police Agency's area of responsibility. Minister Hanson further stated in the Home Office Press release:

“We know the public want this information, which will allow them to hold the police to account and help create an even more responsive and effective service.

“Neighbourhood police teams already serve every community in England and Wales and the Crime Map is another example of how we are building greater links between the police and the people they serve.”

Visit the new interactive web site at : http://maps.police.uk/

It will be interesting to see what kind of usage this website receives. Will this service prove of value or wind up being just another website with information nobody wants? In some areas the Home Office is stating that previous websites with similar information were receiving 50,000 hits a month. A recent survey in the press release suggest that 58% of the community wants this type of information. I wonder if those statistics would hold up on this side of the Atlantic?

Put all three together, it's government in action

Telmex might copy all the different plans, the Mexican government will tax them and use the money to buy the crime map technology to fight the drug war.

Editorial standards