Debra Bowen, Secretary of State, California/Photo by Gerry McIntyre Rocking the Vote/Debra Bowen, Secretary of State, California Photo by Gerry McIntyre

what's your opinion?

Bowen: I'm probably not the right person to ask that question, because I've spent so much time on the inside of the technology questions. The difficulty is that you really need a fair amount of technical background to understand project architecture and the basic kinds of things CIOs deal with. It's not a sexy subject-matter area for a legislator. Your constituents don't say, "I'm so glad you spent all of those hours making sure the Department of Corrections health-care automation system is on track."

GT: What's the biggest technology issue you're dealing with now?

Bowen: In the Secretary of State's Office, we have a lot of basics to do still. Most of the business filing system is still done on paper. I was fairly horrified after I took office to learn that my public access counter consisted of six microfilm readers - there's almost nothing I can provide to people remotely. That will change over the next few years.

We just went through a major challenge with the Uniform Commercial Code [UCC] filing system where we learned again, to our dismay, we had Social Security numbers on about a third of the UCC filings. We had to pull the Web site down and provide access manually for a while. We just completed the redaction; I don't believe we have any Social Security numbers [online]. We probably still have one or two someplace creative, but I think going forward peoples' expectations about privacy and what's on public documents are also changing.

 

Watch related video: Connected Government, Part 3 from the Conference on California's Future.