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Interview Carlos E. Jimenez

posted Oct 24, 2012, 2:56 PM by STC eGov   [ updated May 13, 2013, 8:35 PM by Carlos E. Jiménez ]

Point of view - Carlos E. Jiménez.

01.- What is eGovernment?
Electronic Government, eGovernment or Digital Government refers to the use of information and communication technology to provide and improve government services, transactions and interactions with citizens, businesses, and other branches of government, in the front office and the back office. For example, when we are speaking of Cloud Computing in public administrations, we are speaking about eGovernment (Government Cloud). Usually, when I speak on eGov, I'm speaking in a broad sense, including all its components. In specific contexts I usually explain the focus (eg. eGovernnance, Open Government, etc).

02.- Does the tech community should provide a roadmap to the public agency to develop eGov?
It should help, but it is important to understand that eGovenrment needs a transversal and strategic view where technology is important, but it is only a tool. It is important to consider management, public policy or organizational views too, and governance is key.

03.-One website related eGovernment..
Those web sites that are One-Stop-Shop and Open. But it is important to know that eGovernment needs a contextualization and, in addition, web is only one of many channels. Every region, every city, every country needs to put in context its public policies related with the best way to use of eGovernment (including its tools). Eg. We could do a better use of SMS than a website  if the penetration of mobile devices are 100% in population.

04.- Countries the most advanced in eGov?
I would say, instead, public administrations than countries. The answer, in my opinion, is those that are the most innovative. I think they are the countries that are going to the 2nd cycle of interoperability models, and they are correctly evaluating its programs and actions. They are evolving into Open Government. I think UK and USA are two good examples.

05.-Challenges for public agencies to implement…?
Evaluation, interoperability, resistance to change, and a true openness.

06.- eGov benefits?
Efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and better services citizen-centric oriented.

07.- One disadvantage of eGovernment is the lack of equality in public access to the internet. What can be done to minimize this drawback?
Of course, this is an effect of digital divide. eGovernment is a field impacted by this divide (and no only eGovernment is related with the digital divide). Always, eGovernment is a complementary way to serve citizens. Nowadays we are in the Information Society era, and this is one of the reasons that we need to impulse e-inclusion policies. In this context, in fact, we could see eGovernment as a tool that justifies the impulse of e-inclusion public policies, for development. For example, Tele-Centers for sharing technologies, are an interesting possibility.

08.- What other factors are affecting eGov access and use?
Security, privacy, infrastructures, e-inclusion… it is important to think the eGov as a part of a broad (and transversal) public policy, and a way in order to offer services to the citizen (in addition to others). Anyway, it is important to say that there is a big cultural gap too, related with relationship between citizen-administration.

09.-Is eGov known by citizens & admins?
Knowledge by administrations is increasing every day, but it has to be correctly understood what eGov means, and it is a true challenge sometimes for public administrations.
For citizens, only some of its initiatives are known, and mainly focused in the front office. Important elements as interoperability of eGovernmentare focused in the back office and citizens doesn't know (and, of course, citizen doesn't need to know about) this matter.

10.- Should be developed taking into account the variety of admin?
Collaboration is one of the keys of eGov. Absolutely. All levels of administrations and institutions should collaborate. eGovernment it should be developed taking into account the variety of administrations, in an horizontal and vertical perspective, and not only administrations. For example, public-private partnership (PPP) are very interesting elements in order to achieve better services to the citizens.

11.-What is the impact of eGov in the Smart Cities?
I think it is in the same "bag". In fact I would state the question as "what is the impact of smart cities in eGov?" because smart cities can be a tool in order to achieve a better and smarter Governance, eServices, and eGovernment.

12.-Will eGov be the predominant relation model with citizens?
I think it will go ahead in this way for developed regions. In my opinion, it should go.

13.- As a citizen, why should I trust eGov?
Why not? But first of all, we need to have a "cybersecurity" culture, in the same way and level that we trust on Government (without "e"). In addition, technologies applied in Government can help to increase transparency, but if a Government doesn't want to be transparent or don't deserves trust from the citizen, in the virtual way it will not change neiter.

14.- Does eGov provide admin with more info about people?
No. We should think that the laws are the same. We have to be aware that a privacy framework it is needed, and it means privacy and data protection laws. For interchange of data, it should be a requierement with ever increasing highlight. The info should be useful to government, in order to achieve better services and better governance.

15.-How could eGov affect individuals privacy?
It will depends. Technology is a tool. The way that we will use technology, it will affect in a lot of ways to society. It means that if we use technology in a good way, it will affect positively. It is needed a privacy framework and a relationship based in trust.

16.- Will eGov lead us to a big brother surveillance…?
Technology is connecting all of us. Internet of Things will be a good way to test the human capacity to solve this problem. Government should be our protector, but it should not use technology for limitation of citizen rights in this way.

24 October 2012