We are in well into the craze of government modernization or “e-government”.
E government means digital government, online government or transformational government. E = Electronic. Electronic refers specifically to information in an electronic format. With e government critical information is stored, transmitted and shared electronically by computer over the internet. Sharing information electronically can be done instantaneously and since efficiency is the primary goal of e-government the original charge of protecting and defending our fundamental rights begins to get lost in the shuffle.
Promises of efficiency, transparency and cost cutting are tempting arguments in favor of government modernization or e government. There are downsides though and I think the MERS home foreclosure travesty illustrates some of theses downsides beautifully.
“For the first time in the nation’s history, there is no longer an authoritative, public record of who owns land in each county.”
These statements are taken from the testimony of Christopher L. Peterson Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law Salt Lake City, Utah submitted to the House of Representatives Committee of the Judiciary on Dec 2, 2010
This article explains the reality of this nightmare better than I ever could hope to-
Dude, Where’s My Mortgage? How a Corrupt Outfit Called MERS Is Destroying Our System of Property Rights
Another epic failure of the private sector to uphold the laws and traditions of American society, even something as fundamental as property rights.
And why would we be surprised?
Private business is in business to make a profit. Our Government is charged first with protecting our rights. When essential government functions are delegated to the private sector, especially when these functions are performed electronically-just imagine the potential for mishap and abuse.
If you cannot imagine just look at the MERS situation;
The story begins in mid-’90s with the founding of MERS, Inc. by the nation’s most powerful banks, ostensibly with the aim of streamlining and modernizing the process of registering and tracking mortgages. Traditionally, there has been no centralized registry of real estate ownership information, with counties maintaining their own records for properties within their borders—a system that has remained virtually unchanged since colonial times.