A paperless country

All the paperwork I have to go through is undoubtedly unbearable. Documents, photocopies, signatures, long queues, etc. Papers that are lost, papers that are sent to another address, etc. It’s always the same. The curious thing is that we live in a computerized world but, regarding paperwork that requires a physical presence and signature, were are in still in the Iron Age.

However, things are slowly changing. The other day I went to change my address at the Spanish Social Security. The good man served me with just a small smile on his face and starting hitting the keys to search for me in the database. I looked at his screen as usual and I couldn’t believe my eyes: MS-DOS 6. I told myself this would never happen to me. It’s really incredible how today’s technology is squandered. There is so much good, extensible technology that it’s hard to believe that we can’t capitalize on it. At least Spain – where I live – is on the way to digitalization, taking advantage of the digital ID card and digital signatures, compared with other European countries which see this as a contra-weapon. I believe that the idea is fantastic and, being Argentinean, I was even more surprised to read that, in my country, agreements have been signed for a «paperless» (sic) government. Undoubtedly, no-one who’s gone through the whole rigmarole in Argentina knows what it’s like to wait months for something that can take a few minutes.

Fernández took advantage of the event to announce the implementation of the Digital Signature Law that would “help to eliminate the paper and forms in transactions, thus reducing time and costs.”

The paper gets yellow and corroded and is devoured by termites after a while. Trips to city hall cost money. The time I have to wait until I’m served is not remunerated. I have to accept the civil servant’s bad mood and the truth is I don’t like that very much. I want to update my census registration with three clicks. I want to change my address in 10 minutes during the morning while I breakfast. I want to sign a contract without moving from my office and that the other party can legally sign in the next 5 minutes. I ask: why are we subjected to this? Do we have to sign by hand, wait in endless queues, live with MS-DOS and with contracts that come and go by mail?
That’s enough paper.

By Diego Lafuente
Saved in: Technology | No comments » | 20 June 2006

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