GOVNET PROVIDES A WINDOW INTO THE SLOVAK GOVERNMENT

Now you can keep an eye on Big Brother

Have you ever wondered what Big Brother is up to these days? For a glimpse, log on the Internet to see Govnet at http://www.government.gov.sk. This is the regular person's only look at what in reality is a lightning-quick communication network created to link any ministry, government office, regional state office, and government employee with access to a computer.
The Government Office, in charge of implementing Govnet, has nine engineers developing it. Although the site is under construction, a sizeable flock of state bodies is already represented here. However, the government discourages any would-be trespasser by veils of secrecy. Officials at Slovenské Telekomunikácie (Slovak Telecommunications) respond to questions about Govnet's purpose with hold-the-line music.

Have you ever wondered what Big Brother is up to these days? For a glimpse, log on the Internet to see Govnet at http://www.government.gov.sk. This is the regular person's only look at what in reality is a lightning-quick communication network created to link any ministry, government office, regional state office, and government employee with access to a computer.

The Government Office, in charge of implementing Govnet, has nine engineers developing it. Although the site is under construction, a sizeable flock of state bodies is already represented here. However, the government discourages any would-be trespasser by veils of secrecy. Officials at Slovenské Telekomunikácie (Slovak Telecommunications) respond to questions about Govnet's purpose with hold-the-line music.

The secrecy may be a question of security, according to Ivan Leščák, technical director at the Internet provider EUnet. "There will probably be a lot of 'sensitive' information from ministries, including e-mail communication of ministers themselves travelling through Govnet," said Leščák. "It is quite a technical challenge to protect any network from good [computer] hacks," he added.

Jozef Kaffka, Govnet's project director at the government office, did say that Govnet is an attempt to bring the government's communication standards to EU and NATO levels. "Interconnection serves to all users of the Govnet network for fast on-line access to information sources and databases of the European Union, NATO, electronic newsletters, Phare help, etc," Kaffka explained.

Technically, Govnet implementation is impressive, with the flexibility to upgrade easily. Using digital circuits with a transfer speed of, at the very least 64 kbps (kilobytes per second) to 2 Mbps (megabytes per second), information moves at the speed of light. Besides being able to communicate with each other and have access to other ministries, Govnet users will be able to enter the vast universe of the world wide web.

Via Govnet, Big Brother is developing projects that will provide state bodies instant access to information about citizens. Planned for the future: citizens' registration and information on their health and criminal records.

That raises an inevitable question whether or not the country is ready for technology that could be used to undermine a person's privacy. After barely eight years of freedom, that is a scary thing to contemplate.

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Top stories

Courageous pensioner, Roma from Moldava and victims of totalitarian regime awarded for courage

White Crow awards were handed out on the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

White Crows 2019

Crossing the Slovak-Austrian border has never become a matter of course for me

How I ran for Mária Rozmaňová who was killed on the border in 1952.

About 50 people ran on November 17 to commemorate the 42 people who were killed at the Iron Curtain between former Czechoslovakia and Austria in their attempts to flee the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in 1948-1989.

Kočner: I told Fico that if I was left alone, he would be PM

Denník N published another one of Kočner's recording. In it he mentions his dealings with the former prime minister.

Robert Fico

Čaputová on the anniversary: Democracy is an opportunity

Politicians celebrated 30 years of freedom, too.

Zuzana Čaputová and Miloš Zeman