Shared database between all local, state and federal branches a good idea?

I know that there are privacy issues that could be raised but what about the advantages of a really smooth information exchange system based on a unified database in which any information needed can be obtained by people with sufficient clearance instantly. This frees people from having to fill forms with facts already entered once in the database, wait in line or wait weeks, months or years for some human reading and evaluation that could and should really be automated (and perhaps other benefits I’m missing?)

I think this could make a tremendous impact on citizen morale, business productivity, innovation, and the economy as a whole. A modern, rational overhaul of parts of the existing bureaucracy.

How would you improve on any inefficient methods to interact with government at all scales?

It would make a world of sense. As would things like a standard driver’s license design among all 50 states.

The problem I think is not so much in the benefits as the problems achieving it. Every state has its own info they want another may not and they have many differing databases that cannot easily talk to each other and so on. Aggregating it all into one master database would be a colossal undertaking and staggeringly expensive.

Exactly. Instead of trying to fit everyone’s data into a single database system, there should be (stronger) efforts to standardize and streamline data sharing. IOW, an application shouldn’t really care where its data comes from, as long as it’s assured of its accuracy.

The details are not important as long as we agree that this is absolutely doable using today’s technology and savoir-faire.

There’s no doubt that it’s doable using today’s technology - the internet is a pretty good example of wide-spread data sharing.

The devil really is in the details, with this.