The process of audit and control - a comparison of manual and electronic information systems
A question is posed; have audit and control of information in a high security environment, such as law enforcement, improved or not in the transition from manual to electronic processes? This paper attempts to elucidate this question by a thorough examination of information collection, control of processing and audit in manual processes used by the Queensland Police Service, Australia, during the period 1940-1980. It assesses those processes against current electronic systems essentially introduced to policing in the decades of the 1980s and 1990s. The results of this assessment show that electronic systems provide for faster communications with centrally controlled and updated information readily available for use by large number of users connected across significant geographical locations. It is clearly evident that the price paid for this is a lack of ability and/or reluctance to provide improved audit and control processes. Thus, the claim can be made that audit and control processes may be considered to have been downgraded in the electronic world where standard commercial systems are used.