Policy News February 2016

Government urges Microsoft on digital connectivity in India

In order to provide digital connectivity across the country, including in inaccessible areas like North-East and Himalayan region, the Indian Government has asked Microsoft to provide technology that can be used to connect such areas where fibre or cable could not reach, according to news reports. Microsoft is running a pilot project in Andhra Pradesh using the white space technology to deliver broadband. The company stated they have installed cloud computing facilities in India, including data centers at three places and have requested that the government should also be open to use their cloud platform. In other reports the Government said that India is under stress of terrorism and extremism and therefore cyber security remains highly important and Microsoft must ensure that data stored in their centers is completely safe and secure.

Digital services to combat tax evasion in Greek region

According to the Global Government Forum, the Greek region of Attica-Athens is introducing new digital services to tackle tax evasion and corruption, with the aim of comparing data on citizens’ assets and purchases to their declared income. As of this year, the region’s taxpayers will be required to submit tax returns using a 56-page electronic form requesting data on movable and immovable assets as well as income. A prelude to the forthcoming Digital Assets Registry, the new database will gather financial information on taxpayers, enabling the administration to check whether – for example – an expensive car has been bought using banking services or via other methods. The aim is to help officials to better target tax evasion investigations.

UK Government brings in business leaders for policy advice

In a move to co-opt business leaders to advise on policy, the UK Government has appointed a Facebook director and the former head of Amazon UK to a new advisory committee on the digital economy. Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock said he had appointed Facebook’s Richard Allan, the director of policy, Europe, to a new advisory board that will help shape the government’s digital services. Brian McBride, Amazon’s former UK managing director, has also been appointed to the group, which will be called the Government Digital Services advisory board.