Wasted UK government spending on IT over the last 10 years could have paid for at least 50 new hospitals, according to outspoken Labour MP Derek Wyatt.
Wyatt's attack came as he warned that expanding Internet use, accelerated by new devices such as Internet enabled mobile phones, would introduce serious data protection concerns for consumers.
"The more we play with this [technology], the more we have to play with the rules, because current data protection rules aren't going to work," said Wyatt.
He said progress on UK data protection rules is moving at a "dinosaur's pace" and blasted European Commission legislation for being based on last year's technology.
As it becomes easier for retailers to profile online customers, the rules have to be changed, said Wyatt. But he warned: "How long would that take to get through Parliament? Would it even go through at all? One of the things that would worry Gordon Brown is how to collect tax on the Internet," he said.
He also said differences in currencies may make ecommerce legislation difficult.
Wyatt said he has asked the Audit Commission to give him the last 10 years of misspending on computers by government. "I reckon conservatively that would have built 50 hospitals," he said.
Last month Wyatt announced the World Internet Forum, an annual event intended to encourage governments to share their experiences of putting public sector services online. The first Forum, chaired by Lord Puttnam, will be held at Oxford University from 3-7 September, 2000.
Special Report: Prime minister Tony Blair's review of government IT, quietly revealed by the Cabinet Office at the end of last month, will open up a Pandora's Box of disaster, delay and dropping morale, vnunet.com reveals in an exclusive report today.
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