Industry association calls on government to empower IT authorities

- Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Industry association calls on government to empower IT authorities

The longer it takes the government to give authorities more of a mandate to drive Chile toward a digital society, the longer it will take the country to embrace concepts such as cloud computing, Rodrigo Rojas, legal representative for Chilean IT industry association Acti, told BNamericas.

Speaking on the sidelines of a seminar on cloud computing organized by Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GLBC) in Santiago, Rojas underscored the disappointment of the organization that Chilean President Sebastian Piñera had again failed to promise to create an ICT ministry during his May 21 address to the nation.

"It's not so much about not creating a ministry, but as long as they do not empower the person in charge [of the digital agenda] they will not advance," Rojas said.

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Currently, Alfredo Barriga is head of the digital agenda project, which is a department within the economy ministry.

Rojas said Chile should follow the US' example in creating a federal chief information officer who is the administrator of the Office of Electronic Government.

"We need a person who is as powerful as a minister. Clearly the digital development secretariat is merely a unit [of a ministry]," Rojas said.

The lawyer said that with a greater mandate, the government official in charge of IT could help dispel some of the myths and concerns regarding concepts such as cloud computing and move much faster toward it.

He said governments are still very much concerned about information security, and many still feel their information is safer stored in a datacenter inside the country than outside it. But "it's a political issue. There is no difference whether the data center is in Chile or outside, because the hacker may be in Russia."

Rojas said the government is focusing efforts on buying equipment and open source software for different departments, when it should be looking ahead of the curve to the cloud.

"There's no point going to where the ball is; you have to go to where it's being kicked to," he said.