Registers and legal proceedings

All government registers should have point-in-time search capability. That is, the register should be searchable to see what it looked like at any point in time in the past. Links from point-in-time records should jump to counterpart records at the same point in time. This function greatly reduces the cost of investigatory work and inhibits many types of fraud.


Public registers should be accessible for at no cost via the Internet. Fees for using government registers deter use. Although a user-pays model is appropriate for delivering many government services, certain functions of government are so fundamental to liberty, property, and the administration of law that they should be financed from tax revenue.


To ensure the integrity of the registers, there must be severe punishment for making fraudulent entries and fines for making sloppy entries or failing to update the register.


Governments should go to extreme lengths to ensure the integrity, recoverability, redundancy and stability of the databases. The best way for this to be achieved is to contract the task to multiple companies in the private sector. Back-ups should be stored in different locations using different protocols and mediums. Dispositions should be made so that the system can be easily restored in the event of a disaster.

Seamless interface between public registers

The public registers should seamlessly interface through links, allowing a person to find information quickly.

Interaction with private databases

Private companies should be able to run automated queries on the public registers to update their own records, gather statistical information and to integrate with their own Internet publications.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove