3.1. Korean E-Government Act Enactment Process
Discussions surrounding the enactment of e-government laws in Korea began to be publicized in the second half of 1998. At that time, the ruling party argued that the “Special Act on the Implementation of E-Government” should be enacted in order to enhance the competitiveness of the government based on information technology and to contribute to the development of the national economy. However, the ruling party’s bill did not reach a wide consensus within the National Assembly, the Party, and the government at the time. Therefore, although the formal policy was formulated, it failed due to a substantial lack of the power needed to navigate the dynamic legislative processes involving conflicts, comprehension, and compromise among ministries around the legislation.
In the end, this bill, which was proposed by the political circles, prompted the Ministry of Information and Communication and the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs to hurry to enact legislation related to the work of an alternative law and their ministry. All of these alternatives were focused on maximizing their own interests in the promotion of e-government.
Under these circumstances, the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs actively prepared for the enactment of the E-Government Act from the beginning of 2000. As a result, the enactment of e-government legislation was included in the detailed work plan for major works in 2000 [19
]. In particular, the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs attempted to enact a comprehensive statute for the 21st-century information environment. Accordingly, the content included in the draft law included the establishment of an e-government promotion system, the reduction of paper documents, the revitalization of public information utilization, and the protection of the public’s right to know more.
During this process, on 22 March 2000, the Minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs reported to the President on the work of the millennium and identified the enactment of e-government law as a central task of the ministry.
In March 2000, the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs obtained the authority to enact the E-Government Act in the Millennium Report on the President. Accordingly, the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs commissioned external academic and professional organizations to provide services for drafting the e-government law, and based on these results, prepared the E-Government Implementation Bill in September. However, this law underwent many changes in the legislative process after it was first submitted to the National Assembly and finally passed the National Assembly on 28 February 2001.
The Korean government has enacted the E-Government Act since it was passed at the National Assembly on 1 July 2001. However, there are still voices for revision of the bill due to its lack of governance.
3.2. Main Content of the E-Government Act in Korea
The E-Government Act of Korea, which was the first established in the world, not only involved the introduction and utilization of electronic documents but also caused substantial changes in administration via electronic civil service. Therefore, this section examines the content of the e-government law and changes in administrative behavior from the viewpoint of productivity, transparency, and democratization of government administration processes.
The E-Government Act stipulates the purpose of this law as follows.
Article 1 (Purpose)
The purpose of this Act is to facilitate the efficient realization of electronic government, enhance productivity, transparency and democracy in the public administration, and improve the quality of life of citizens by providing for fundamental principles, procedures, methods of promotion, and other relevant matters for the electronic processing of administrative affairs.
In this way, the E-Government Act did not merely aim to reduce the cost of government operation (enhancing the internal productivity of the government) or to make it easier for the public to receive better government services at a lower cost. These were only the basics and the act had a more fundamental implementation purpose, which was the implementation of e-government to make it easier for the public to look at what is happening in the government in a convenient way (to improve transparency), to display the will of the people more conveniently and more effectively to the government, and to promote the power of the people as a sovereign to the government (to enhance democracy). Most importantly, the purpose of implementing e-government was ultimately to improve the quality of life of the people and promote national welfare in a knowledge- and information-based society. We have discussed the three aspects of e-government implementation mentioned in the act in more detail below.
3.2.1. Democratic Aspect of Administration
As the use of information and communication has spread rapidly in our society, the dysfunction of informatization such as hacking, infringement of privacy by leakage of personal information, and computer crime has expanded. In addition, Korea has had the experience of adopting the e-resident card policy in the face of two acutely opposing arguments on the efficiency of administration and the possible invasion of privacy. Therefore, in order to cope with this problem, the e-government principle centering on the citizens’ convenience was formulated more specifically in Article 4. Furthermore, in order to prepare for the provision of citizen-centered services as well as the dysfunctions, the principle of protection of personal information and privacy was also specified.
Article 4 (Principles of Electronic Government)
(1) Each administrative agency, etc. shall consider, among other things, the following matters in materializing, operating, and developing electronic government, and take measures necessary therefor:
Digitizing public services and improving citizens’ convenience;
Innovating administrative affairs and improving their productivity and efficiency;
Ensuring the security and reliability of information systems;
Protecting personal information and privacy;
Expanding disclosure and sharing of administrative information;
Preventing duplicative investment and improving interoperability.
Until the early 2000s, most administrative services in Korea were only available through civil servants and by visiting the relevant government agencies. However, in many countries—including the United States, the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong—services regarding taxes, birth notification, marriage reports, and death reports have been made available via the Internet. In accordance with this trend, and as a concrete means of implementation, Korea also stipulated the processing of non-visiting service delivery and the establishment and operation of the electronic petition service counter through virtual institutions in Article 9.
Article 9 (Processing of Civil Petitions without Appearance)
(1) In order for civil petitioners to have their civil petitions, etc. processed without necessarily appearing in person at the relevant agency, the head of each administrative agency, etc. shall take measures, such as the improvement of relevant Acts and subordinate statutes and the establishment of facilities and systems as necessary.
3.2.2. Business Transparency Aspects
Prior to the act, various existing laws and regulations related to government affairs generally adhered to conventional methods. Of course, electronic procurement methods were prescribed for some tasks, such as government procurement and document management. However, they existed in the form of mixed traditional processing methods and electronic methods, or were prescribed in the subordinate statute and not in the upper statute. Thus, the principles of electronic processing of the main tasks of administrative agencies became specified in the E-Government Act.
Based on the principle of electronic processing, electronic civil complaint handling methods were introduced not only for administrative internal affairs but also in the public administrative services (Article 7). Specifically, citizens were able to apply for and report or submit electronic documents through ICT means, and the administrative institutions were also able to respond with electronic documents; application, notification, submission, and response processes were all conducted in compliance with the procedure set forth in the relevant laws and regulations. As a result, the basis for electronic civil service was firmly established.
Article 7 (Application, etc. for Electronic Processing of Civil Petitions)
(1) The head of an administrative agency, etc., (including any person to whom administrative authority has been entrusted: hereafter, the same shall apply in this section) may allow citizens to file, report, or submit a civil application or petition (hereinafter referred to as “application, etc.”) in electronic form. even where relevant Acts and subordinate statutes (including ordinances and municipal rules of a local government; hereinafter the same shall apply) require application, etc. for a civil petition, etc. subject to processing of the said agency in paper form, such as a written document, statement, or form.
The Korean government established the principle that e-government law can enforce the disclosure of information held on the Internet. At that time, there was an information disclosure law, but the method of disclosure of information was limited to the reading, copying, and duplication of the information and the applicant was confirmed at the time of information disclosure. Therefore, electronic information disclosure was formulated as a specific means of implementing complete information disclosure (Article 12).
Article 12 (Electronic Provision of Administrative Information)
(1) The head of each administrative agency, etc., shall separately provide citizens with information related to civil petitions, such as Acts relevant to civil petitions and subordinate statutes thereof, manuals related to the processing of civil petitions, and the guidelines for processing civil petitions, and other administrative information specified by the National Assembly Regulations, the Supreme Court Regulations, the Constitutional Court Regulations, the National Election Commission Regulations, or by Presidential Decree as administrative information related to citizens’ lives, by posting them on the Internet.
3.2.3. E-Government Productivity
The Korean government revised the Office Administration Regulations and electronic documents were defined as the default form of document in the business process from 1 September 1999. However, electronic documents were not activated in actual administrative processing. Accordingly, the Korean government enacted a number of provisions in the Administrative Management Regulations (Article 26: Formation, Effects, etc. of Electronic Documents, etc.; Article 27: Transmission and Receipt of Electronic Documents; Article 28: Timing of Delivery or Arrival of Electronic Documents). The document office of the public institution declared that the electronic document should be the standard.
Article 25 (Preparation, etc., of Electronic Documents)
(1) Documents of each administrative agency, etc., shall be prepared, dispatched, received, stored, preserved, and utilized fundamentally in electronic form, provided, that the same shall not apply where the nature of specific work requires any other format, or under exceptional circumstances.
(2) Each administrative agency, etc., shall make the forms of documents sent or received by such agency appropriate for electronic documents.
Article 33 also stipulated the obligation not only to utilize electronic documents but also to minimize the number of paper documents generated in the process of public institutions’ operations:
Article 33 (Reduction of Paper Documents)
(1) The head of each administrative agency, etc., shall minimize the formulation, receipt, circulation, and storage of paper documents by digitizing administrative affairs and civil petitions, sharing administrative information with other agencies, or by other means, and shall formulate plans to continuously reduce paper documents in the relevant agency.
(2) The head of each administrative agency, etc., shall revise its methods of working, etc., in the relevant agency in a manner that minimizes unnecessary printing of paper documents in the process of formulating and reporting documents.
(3) With the aim of reducing paper documents, the head of each administrative agency, etc., shall amend or supplement Acts and subordinate statutes, directives, etc. that stipulate application, reports, submission, notice, or notification in paper form to allow such application, etc., by electronic means as well, except under exceptional circumstances.
(4) The head of a central agency responsible for administrative affairs may, if necessary, formulate and implement directives to reduce paper documents or investigate the actual use, etc., of paper documents.
Until the early 2000s, while promoting informatization of the administration, Korea was unable to promote joint and shared use of administrative information across administrative institutions. Therefore, the E-Government Act clarified the obligation of joint use of administrative information among public institutions and the goal of preventing duplicate information collection (Article 36) as well as the establishment of an administrative information-sharing center (Article 37).
Article 36 (Efficient Management and Use of Administrative Information)
(1) The head of each administrative agency, etc., shall share administrative information collected and held by such agency with other administrative agencies, etc., that need such information, and shall not endeavor to separately gather identical information where he/she can be provided with reliable administrative information from other administrative agencies, etc.
Article 37 (Administrative Information-Sharing Center)
(1) In order to ensure the effective sharing of administrative information, the Minister of the Interior and Safety may establish an Administrative Information-Sharing Center (hereinafter referred to as the “Sharing Center”) under his/her jurisdiction to implement policies necessary to share administrative information, as prescribed by Presidential Decree.
3.3. US E-Government Act Legislation Process
One of the most prominent players in the US e-government legislation process was Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut senator from 1989 to 2013. In May 2000, Senator Lieberman opened an “experiment in interactive legislation” website in conjunction with Senator Thompson for e-government legislation, seeking feedback on 44 themes. Topics ranged from centralized leadership, fund innovation, e-democracy, and government portals to interoperability. By collecting nearly 1000 comments on this site, Lieberman embodied the E-Government Act. Subsequently, on May 1, 2001, Lieberman initiated the E-Government Act with fellow lawmakers.
Liebermann initiated the “E-Government Act of 2001” to allow citizens to conveniently access various civil services through the internet and to secure national credibility and innovation through information technology. He emphasized the necessity of legislation and the law to reform the macro-system.
The draft bill initiated by Lieberman contained two central points. The first was to increase the role of the OMB in e-government implementation. The second was to define the roles of other ministries besides the OMB. One of the most important of these was the creation of a Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) within the OMB. It also involved using internet-based information technology to enhance citizen-centered services and provision of government information.
The bill passed the Senate Committee on 1 March 2002. Later, however, the OMB and the Congress continued negotiations on the bill. In particular, Congress heard opinions from various stakeholders on the content of the legislation. Accordingly, the US Senate passed the E-Government Act of 2002 on 1 July 2002, aiming to create the Office of Electronic Government (OEG). The E-Government Act of 2002 was finalized by Congress on 15 November 2002 and entered into force upon the signature of the President on 17 December 2002.
3.4. Main Content of the E-Government Act in the United States
Although information technology has dramatically transformed society, as acknowledged in Section 2
of the act, its application to government processes was inadequate. In order to successfully introduce information technology to the government, new leadership, better organization, and improved ministry cooperation were required. Thus, the act sought to support the more effective federal leadership in implementing e-government by placing the OEG within the OMB. Next, we briefly examine relevant details in Titles I, II, and III of the E-Government Act.
3.4.1. Title I—Office of Management and Budget E-Government Services
Title I mainly focused on the role of OMB in implementing e-government by adding Chapter 36 to Title 44, United States Code. Within Chapter 36, Section 3601 defined the concept of e-government and explained information technology, Section 3602 specified the establishment of an e-government office within OMB, Subsection 3602 (d) outlined the existing information-related laws, and Subsection 3602 (f) defined the role of the administrator at the head of the office. The administrator’s role is as quoted and listed below:
To advise the Director on the resources required to develop and effectively administer electronic Government initiatives;
To recommend to the Director changes relating to Governmentwide strategies and priorities for electronic government;
To provide overall leadership and direction to the executive branch on electronic government;
To promote innovative uses of information technology by agencies, particularly initiatives involving multiagency collaboration, through support of pilot projects, research, experimentation, and the use of innovative technologies;
To oversee the distribution of funds from, and ensure appropriate administration and coordination of, the E-Government Fund established under Section 3604;
To coordinate with the Administrator of General Services regarding programs undertaken by the General Services Administration to promote electronic government and the efficient use of information technologies by agencies;
To lead the activities of the Chief Information Officers Council established under Section 3603 on behalf of the Deputy Director for Management, who shall chair the council;
To assist the Director in establishing policies which shall set the framework for information technology standards for the Federal Government developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology;
To sponsor ongoing dialogue that— ‘‘(A) shall be conducted among Federal, State, local, and tribal government leaders on electronic government in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, as well as leaders in the private and nonprofit sectors;
To sponsor activities to engage the general public in the development and implementation of policies and programs, particularly activities aimed at fulfilling the goal of using the most effective citizen-centered strategies. (Rest of the list omitted.)
In Section 3603, the CIO Council was established to co-ordinate the establishment of the Secretariat. In particular, the director of the E-Government Office led the council and broadly defined responsibilities for the CIO council and the OMB to work together in the following ways. The role of the council is as quoted and listed below:
To develop recommendations for the Director on Government information resources management policies and requirements;
To share experiences, ideas, best practices, and innovative approaches related to information resources management;
To assist the Administrator in the identification, development, and coordination of multiagency projects and other innovative initiatives to improve Government performance through the use of information technology;
To promote the development and use of common performance measures for agency information resources management under this chapter and title II of the E-Government Act of 2002;
To work as appropriate with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Administrator to develop recommendations on information technology standards developed under section 20 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act;
To work with the Office of Personnel Management to assess and address the hiring, training, classification, and professional development needs of the Government related to information resources management;
To work with the Archivist of the United States to assess how the Federal Records Act can be addressed effectively by Federal information resources management activities.
Under Section 3604, e-government funds were established to support multi-agency e-government projects. The management of the fund was handled by the General Services Administration (GSA), but the director of the E-Government Office was responsible for everything from the examination of the proposal to the execution.
The fund was specifically $45 million in 2003, $50 million in 2004, $100 million in 2005, and $150 million in 2006, based on the fiscal year, which was kept until the expense. Thus, the US government was able to support the implementation of e-government by allocating $345 million in funds over the four years following the enactment.
3.4.2. Title II—Federal Management and Promotion of E-Government Services
Title II focused on the implementation of information technology within the government to provide citizen-centered services to the public. Each section dealt with specific technology applications or topics. We have briefly described Sections 202 to 209 below.
For successful e-government implementation, Section 202 (federal agency responsibilities) emphasized the need for organizations to cooperate with OMB to align themselves with the objectives of the agency from a strategic point of view, rather than simply automating tasks. Specifically, Subsection 202 (a) clarified the responsibilities of the Director-General in implementing e-government, Subsection 202 (b) required agencies to measure the performance of e-government implementations in terms of advancement of the organization’s strategic goals, and Subsection 202 (c) required the Chief Engineer to think in terms of universal service to solve the Internet divide. Additionally, Subsection 202 (f) described the role of the CIO of each institution, while Subsection 202 (g) required all agencies to submit an annual report on the state of the agency’s e-government initiatives to OMB.
Section 203 (compatibility of methods for use and acceptance of electronic signatures) provided a means to securely implement e-government through the spread of digital signatures within institutions. Specifically, Subsection 203 (b) showed that the use of digital signatures proposed in the GPEA was consistent with the policy of the OMB. In Subsection 203 (c), the General Services Administration (GSA), in the use of digital signatures, was mandated to support the director of OMB to allow effective interoperability. Lastly, Subsection 203 (d) authorized the use of $8 million by the GSA for electronic signature compatibility between federal agencies in the fiscal year 2003.
Section 204 (federal internet portal) documented the development of an integrated government portal site based on the Internet. In particular, with regard to firstgov.gov
, which was managed by the General Services Administration, the future directors of the E-Government Office were given authority over the GSA’s work. For example, in the fiscal year 2003, the government approved the use of $
15 million for the maintenance of portal sites. It was authorized that they could spend as much as necessary in each subsequent fiscal year.
As stated in Section 205 on federal courts, the Chief Justice of the United States also formulated a plan to participate in the implementation of e-government. In particular, all courts were to have a website accessible to the public within two years, and all the materials were converted to digital format and posted online.
Under Section 206 (regulatory agencies), several regulatory agencies were also required to use information technology to gather opinions from the public and suggest ways to ensure accountability and transparency in the regulatory sector.
Section 207 (accessibility, usability, and preservation of government information) contained an enormous amount of information about the management, access, use, and preservation of information that is created, possessed, and disseminated by the government.
Section 208 on privacy provisions shows how privacy and security are paramount to providing reliability in e-government services. Thus, in e-government services, organizations were to ensure that privacy and personal information is protected. Privacy protection was described from two aspects: (1) If the government has an interest in privacy from the early stages of system design, personalization of government services to individuals does not violate individual privacy; (2) Privacy notification, one of the most fundamental elements of privacy protection, needs to be clear, concise and accurate. This article also requires federal agencies to enact privacy impact assessments (PIAs).
Section 209 (federal information technology workforce development) covers skills development of the federal workforce in using information technology for government services. A workforce with excellent IT skills is one of the most important factors in the success of e-government. Especially in the federal government, managers should be able to use new information technologies to innovate their work and oversee IT sector developments. Therefore, in this section, the government required the establishment of the Federal Information Technology Training Center to improve the IT capabilities of federal officials.
3.4.3. Title III—Government Information Security Reform
Lastly, Title III covered issues related to information security by incorporating subchapters in Chapter 35 of Title 44, United States Code. In 2000, the US Congress enacted the Government Information Security Reform Act (GISRA), which required government agencies to implement a security system for their security systems annually. This law was originally a sunset law that was in effect for a limited period of time until November 29, 2002, but it was amended to be permanent in this article.