Giuliani lauds IT's role in management, endorses national IDs

Giuliani lauds IT's role in management, endorses national IDs

Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani called technology 'a real help' in reducing crime. He said his administration's daily collection of statistics about crime, health and welfare led to cutting the number of welfare recipients from 1.1 million (out of 8 million residents) down to about 650,000 and the number of prisoners in jails from 14,000 down to about 11,000.

'Paying attention to small things,' such as daily statistics from the city's 76 police precincts, was the key, said Giuliani, who spoke today at the E-Gov conference in Washington.

'To say the city was unmanageable and ungovernable really was an excuse for unaccountability,' he said. 'E-government can go a long way to change that perception. We let people pay their parking tickets over the Internet'we needed the money. We put applications for city permits online and made all the permit-granting agencies into one virtual agency.'

Current mayor Michael Bloomberg has continued the statistical reporting by neighborhood under the Citywide Accountability Program, at http://home.nyc.gov/portal/index.jsp?pageID=nyc_stat_reports&catID=1724.

Giuliani, who received a standing ovation after ceremonial bagpipers played 'God Bless America,' said he and city officials for years held tabletop exercises and drills to deal with various emergencies. 'We play-acted a plane crash in Queens,' he said. But when he was called to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, he saw people jumping from the highest floors without a hope of rescue. Although the previous disaster planning didn't fit the scope, at least it prepared the first responders and hospitals, he said.

Giuliani called a national ID card 'something we have to work toward. We need a more efficient way to identify people, but there's a tradeoff between individual privacy and protection of others.' A national ID card, he said, 'would not be an erosion of fundamental freedoms.'

'A lot of people feel that America is more dangerous today than it was before,' Giuliani said. 'The reverse is true. I think it's remarkable how America has handled its worst attack. We are the most vital and interesting society in history.'

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