Theme 8: Information Society and e-Governance
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  (Last updated: November 23rd, 2005)
 
 
 
 
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  The Role of Parliament in Developing e-Government Policy  
  Paula Tiihonen, Counsel to the Committee for the Future  
  The Finnish Parliament, Finland  
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  For the past fifteen years we have learned that in the New World – at least in the New Economy based on the ICT – the role of the State no longer holds importance. Governmental tasks will be minimized, if not diminished all together. But, on the contrary, the role of the governments in the new, brave e-world full of different kinds of e-things (e-mail, e-commerce, e-banking, e-democracy, e-government, e-medicine) is changing, but it is certainly not getting smaller. It would be a big mistake to believe that the problems of the Internet era can be solved by technology, by business, by competition, by globalization, by interna-tional forums, by networks, by NGOs, by the civil society, or by any other actor alone – or even together. Without active participation by the national governments, really useful, effective and economically valuable e-services – public and private – will never succeed. The State’s role is to provide an enabling environment for the new development and support new initiatives for efficient economy and competitiveness.  
     
  The technology policy and the national strategy to build Finland as one of the leading information socie-ties have enhanced the use of ICT, both in public administration, private business and every walk of life in society. Therefore, there is a demand-pull for ICT products and services from the markets, as well as an institutional environment for enhancing ICT and its development. Thus the reasons for the growth of the ICT sector are both economic and social.  
     
  In the Finnish experience the following was a short list of some new problems in which the State had to assume some role, one that could be very different in each case:
1) How to make sure that people have equal opportunities to participate in building the information society?
2) Who is responsible, and how, for taking care of the problems related to safety in a society where most of the individual, corporate, public, private, national, municipal, or international actions or operations are handled totally or partly on-line via the Internet?
3) How to make sure people can trust the society they are a part of? Who is responsible for taking care of such basic elements of democracy as privacy, right to opinion, equal opportunity and pub-lic discourse in the information society?
4) How should the necessary infrastructure be built for the next-generation telecommunications?
5) What are the majority and minority's rights in building e-government and e-commerce?
6) Taxation is one of the oldest tasks of the State, but is this basic tool for creating welfare for all disappearing in the Internet economy?
 
     
  In general, as in the knowledge economy, good governance plays an invaluable role. Institutions, both administrative and political, really do matter, even if we think that we are moving from governing to go-vernance (Tiihonen S., 2004).  
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  Amitai Etzioni, Professor, Institute for Communication Policy Studies  
  George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA  
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  Extreme advocates of privacy find fault in practically every new (and most old) security measures, whether they seek to stop drivers from running red lights (e.g. intersection cameras) or to prevent terrorists from attacking (e.g. analyses of email traffic by use of Carnivore). Extreme advocates of security seek unlimited access to the medical and financial and all other records of all people, including those never suspected of anything.  A reasonable analysis starts from the viewpoint that we must find proper trade off between these two compelling values: safety AND privacy, a typical communitarian perspective.
 
     
  More important than assessing each technology in its own right is to examine how carefully their use is monitored and how those who use them are held accountable by those who themselves can be trusted. The same feature, e.g. wire taps, can be used sparingly, only following court order, or wantonly, including against dissenters. To ensure proper accountability we need not merely layers of overseers and parliamentary oversight but also an independent civilian review board.  
     
  A great threat to privacy is to be found in databases kept by the private sector, which has amassed very great amount of private information and sell it to all who will pay—including the government. Here new regulations and oversight are needed at least as much as in the public sector.  
     
  It should also be noted that despite many new invasive technological developments - such as Keystroke and Magic Lantern - there are also tech developments that greatly enhance privacy, especially high power encryption. It is hence mistaken to suggest that privacy is dying and better to view its condition as an arms race between the technologies of the attackers and those of the defenders.  
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  CRM in the Public Sector - Theory and Practice  
  Alexander Schellong, Visiting Fellow  
  John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA  
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  Customer Relationship Management has been well discussed as a holistic concept for the private sector to start, maintain and optimize relationships to make customers more loyal/profitable – in sum to improve the relationship with the consumers. Many companies have invested into the customer driven CRM concept but research indicates varying outcomes. Recent publications, mainly driven by the private sector rather than academia, show a rising interest about the application of CRM in the public sector domain. Here the term Citizen Relationship Management is also being used. Since CRM is a concept enabled by technology this topics is closely connected to the Digital Government research agenda. Long term changes to the structure and organization of the public administration we know as of today, as well as the citizen government relationship are imminent and need further attention.  
     
  In my paper, I will present early findings of my empirical research done in several cities (e.g. Miami, New York, Washington) in the United States. The public administrations are at different stages of the implementation of the concept. I will also briefly review the latest findings in CRM research from the private sector and connect it to the public sector. The goal is to identify a framework for future research. Some parts of the final theoretical CiRM framework will be included in the research paper.  
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  Trial Simulation to Solve the Optimum Combination of Polls for the Highest Voter Turnout Rates  
  Toshihide Ito, Professor  
  Faculty of Informatics, Kansai University, Kansai, Japan  
     
  Ryota Natori, Associate Professor  
  Faculty of Informatics, Kansai University, Kansai, Japan  
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  In most of industrialized countries, it is quite important to increase voter turnout rates because it has always kept low level in recent elections. Though some measures have been tried to make voter turnout rates high, it has still been low in actual. On the other hand, reconstructing the polls combination would be expected to make its rate higher by reasonable costs.  
     
  In this paper, simulation model was considered to solve the optimum combination of polls for the highest voter turnout rates. At first, a virtual city was assumed from Takatsuki city in Japan. The voters of this city were 250,000 and 60 polls were choose from 80 public buildings. Both were distributed based on the existent city. Each voter has own attributes that influence voting decision, for example, age, strength of the party identification, distance from the closest poll, income, and so on. These personal factors were randomly settled by probability distributions according to census or statistical data. Weather and temperature were also settled by conditions in past elections. Utility functions using these factors were considered to solve the optimum combination. This model should be quite useful in local governments to keep efficient budget allocations.  
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  A Survey for Developing a Unified Intranet for a Metropolitan Municipality in South Africa  
     
  Udo Richard Averweg, Information Analyst  
  eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa  
     
  Carol Ann Barraclough, Consutltant and Project Manager  
  ePages.net (Pty) Ltd, Westville, South Africa  
     
  Angela Frances O'Byrne Spencer, Webmaster  
  eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa  
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  An Intranet (or internal Web) is an assembly of open standard applications and technologies supported by network architecture. It serves the internal information needs of an organisation using Web (Internet) technologies. It brings Internet benefits to the organisational desktop, namely inexpensive and easy browsing, communication and collaboration – but by definition, is used solely for intraorganisational communication activities and information flow.  
     
  Intranets have the power to change decision-making processes, organisational communication flows, structure and procedures. The use of Intranets is increasing rapidly as an internal communication system and can be applied to enhanced knowledge sharing and group decision and business processes. KPMG Consulting (2002) reports that organisations are focusing strongly on internal communications projects (such as Intranets). Such projects can be the differentiating factors which enable some organisations to succeeed and flourish where others fail. In the public sector, by streamlining processes and facilitating internal communication, they enhance service delivery.  
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  The South African Government Online: An examination of ANC Today (“The Online Voice of the African National Congress”) as a model for online participatory democracy.  
     
  Dinesh Balliah, Assistant Dean, Marketing and Recruitment, Faculty of Humanities  
  University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa  
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This paper examines the online presence of the ruling party of South Africa, the African National Congress (www.anc.org.za) known as “ANC Today” as a way of appreciating the potential tools that such websites provide for participatory democracy. The site contains a regular column by the President of the country, President Thabo Mbeki, who uses this mechanism to respond to media comments of national government among other issues. In this way, the site breaks with its party focus and engages broader issues around national government. In addition, the site does lack an online forum and the reasons for this will be explored in this paper.

 
     
 

The paper also examines the way in which the press engages with the content of the site as very little, by way of commentary on the site, is to be found in the established mass media particularly newspapers. This is of particular concern as the domestic digital divide and high levels of illiteracy means that the only possible conduit of information from this site to the public, namely the mass media, is failing to fulfill the essential function of democracy building. The paper examines the extent of the coverage provided in newspapers in Johannesburg on issues emanating from this website. The paper argues though that the site is a useful source of information and tool of engagement for the media with the ruling party.

 
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  About the official publications of web sites in Spain: A path to official information of public domain?  
     
  Luis Fernando Ramos Simón  
  Universidad Complutense of Madrid, Spain  
     
  Iuliana Botezan  
  Faculty of Information Sciences, Universidad Complutense of Madrid, Spain  
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Official publications are aimed at editing and spreading messages elaborated by Governments and other institutions of a public nature. Originally, this obligation is twofold: on the one hand, complying with the principle of publicity of norms, as it constitutes a foundation for the efficiency of norms, and, on the other hand, fulfilling a general function of information on the activities carried out by the public authorities. As the action of Government generalises, this function of communication between the Governments and those governed has expanded to other fields of activity, and free or pay materials, both printed and electronic, have been produced.

 
     
  In relation with the traditional concept of official publications, the Internet has provoked a radical shift: the Web is, in the present times, the major channel of information used by Governments and Public Institutions. Therefore, it is urgent to decide how the Internet is going to fulfil these tasks, and to “think” the role we give to the traditional official publications and to the new systems of information. Moreover, the Internet facilitates transparency of the public sector’s management and makes Governments become major producers of information in their field of action, from the smallest Municipalities to the most complicated level, i.e. the State.  
     
 

This communication introduces the results of research conducted as an attempt to approach the Spanish reality by means of an analysis of official publications edited in Spain between 2002 and 2004. The authors oriented the results in order to follow UNESCO’s recommendations to favour the fact that the official information produced by electronic means becomes a factor of transparency of the Public Authorities and a way to promote democratic ideals (equality, democracy and free access) without elaborating on other positive factors of an economic nature.

 
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  Defining Jurisdiction in Cyberspace: Assessment and Proposals  
  Amel Mili, PhD Candidate  
  Center for Global Change and Governance, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, USA  
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  The current judicial system is anchored to territory, and is constrained by considerations of state sovereignty, and within a given state by jurisdiction rules.  As such, it is totally inadequate to deal with cyberspace, which knows no borders.  In this very preliminary work, we wish to reflect on ways to superimpose a cyberspace-specific body of law to the traditional body of international and national law.  As we envision it, such a legal system would deal initially with civil law (nobody has committed murder in cyberspace so far) and would create a system of stakes for cyberspace citizens commensurate with the stakes we have as citizens of countries and the world, such as our freedom of movement (as opposed to being in prison), freedom of ownership, freedom of speech, etc.  The premise that these stakes can be taken away by a cyber-court gives cyber-citizens the necessary incentives to obey cyber laws.  Once geography / citizenship is taken out of the equation, jurisdiction can be defined in terms that are meaningful in cyberspace, such as nature of the crime, competence of the court, language of the defendant, etc.  
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  E-Government and Information Privacy in Caribbean Developing Societies  
  Richard M. Escalante, Lecturer in E-government  
  Faculty of Social Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad  
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  In Caribbean societies, e-government represents an emerging digital layer on top of traditional government practices. However, even before Caribbean governments can truly ascend to this level of e-government, they must first create a citizen-centric environment for the successful acceptance of e-government. It is here that we observe a disconnect between citizens and the government. In the first instance, purported reforms for establishing such an environment are perceived by an increasingly educated citizenry as neither actually empowering the citizens nor engendering citizen confidence, and secondly, public officials tend to view citizens as ‘participants’ in the development of policies and regulations, instead of ‘owners’ of government (Slaton and Arthur, 2004).  
     
  This is particularly the case when citizens do not see themselves as ‘owners’ of their personal information contained in ‘digital dossiers’ (Solove, 2004) and stored in government databases. Public officials must realize that one of the most important aspects toward increasing citizens’ confidence in e-government is to create legislation to protect the privacy of citizens’ personal data when it has been given/demanded by the government. In the absence of privacy and data protection laws, Caribbean governments must therefore assuage citizens’ fears about the use/abuse this ‘digital dossier’. This paper looks at the underlying reasons for citizens’ lack of confidence in moving to the e-government layer, and considers how best existing legislation on privacy and data protection from developed countries can be utilized to protect this ‘digital dossier’ and promote citizen trust. Ultimately, a citizen-centric environment would allow the successful implementation of e-government, and with it, the means to ascend to yet another layer, e-governance.  
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