e-Government 3.0

Go Lean Commentary

What if we had the chance to “start all over again”, with the knowledge, wisdom and experience that we have now? Could we do “it” faster, stronger, better? Can we do more with less?

Absolutely! Yes, we can!

Work it harder
Make it better
Do it faster
Make us stronger – 2001 Song Lyrics by group Daft Punk

The “it” in this case, is the governance for the Caribbean, the stewardship and shepherding of the 30 member-states that constitute the political Caribbean. (This includes the 2 South American countries – Guyana and Suriname – along with the Central American country of Belize).

There is the need now to reboot, reform or transform all 3 societal engines of the Caribbean region: economics, security and governance. While the first 2 engines can be reformed, there is the opportunity to launch a whole layer of governance. This is the purpose of the book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free – to introduce and implement the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for this new federal government. We will therefore be in a position to “start all over again” and create an administrative regime that can make the Caribbean homeland faster, stronger, better as places to live, work and play. This regime can be dubbed:

e-Government 3.0.

e-Government 1.0 refers to just the facilitation of government services via some electronic mode, the first attempt to embrace an online presence and processing; 2.0 refers to the quest for greater citizen participation in the governing/policy-making process, “putting government in the hands of citizens”.[54] This 3.0 brand however, refers to the penultimate e-Delivery, processing and optimization of ICT (Internet & Communications Technologies) among all the different roles and responsibilities. Imagine digital interactions …

  • between a citizen and their government (C2G)
  • between governments and other government agencies (G2G)
  • between government and citizens (G2C)
  • between government and employees (G2E), and …
  • between government and businesses/commercial entities (G2B).

If this sounds fantastical, just know that there are successful role model countries doing this e-Government 3.0 right now. For example, the Baltic Republic country of Estonia is widely recognized as e-Estonia, as a reference to its tech-savvy government and society.[98] (Until recently – 1991 – Estonia was a Failing-State as a member of the USSR or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). Today, e-Estonia is recognized as the leader in implementing block-chain technology into its e-government infrastructure.[99] See more on their 3.0 offering in the Appendices below, including a White Paper in Appendix B. Also see the VIDEO on Estonia in Appendix C.

e-Government schemes are win-win

The ultimate goal of e-Government is to be able to offer an increased portfolio of public services to citizens in an efficient and cost effective manner. e-Government allows for government transparency. Government transparency is important because it allows the public to be informed about what the government is working on as well as the policies they are trying to implement. Simple tasks may be easier to perform through electronic government access. Many changes, such as marital status or address changes can be a long process and take a lot of paper work for citizens. e-Government allows these tasks to be performed efficiently with more convenience to individuals. e-Government is an easy way for the public to be more involved in political campaigns. It could increase voter awareness, which could lead to an increase in citizen participation in elections. It is convenient and cost-effective for businesses, and the public benefits by getting easy access to the most current information available without having to spend time, energy and money to get it.

e-Government helps simplify processes and makes government information more easily accessible for public sector agencies and citizens. For example, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles simplified the process of certifying driver records to be admitted in county court proceedings.[34] Indiana became the first state to allow government records to be digitally signed, legally certified and delivered electronically by using Electronic Postmark technology. In addition to its simplicity, e-democracy services can reduce costs. Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Wal-Mart and NIC[35] developed an online hunting and fishing license service utilizing an existing computer to automate the licensing process. More than 140,000 licenses were purchased at Wal-Mart stores during the first hunting season and the agency estimates it will save $200,000 annually from service.[36]

The anticipated benefits of e-government include efficiency, improved services, better accessibility of public services, sustainable community development and more transparency and accountability.[22]

Source: Retrieved June 19, 2018 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-government#Advantages

There is no doubt that the operations of government are necessary for a functioning society. There is an implied Social Contract that states “that citizens surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the State in exchange for protection of remaining natural and legal rights”. The more efficiency a State displays in delivering its obligations to its citizens, the better for the State, and the citizens. Where there is failure in this delivery, people … leave or flee!

Human flight and societal abandonment is already a characteristic of the Caribbean today. So we must explore the viability and feasibility of e-Government schemes in the new Caribbean, as rebooting the governing engines is part-and-parcel of the Go Lean roadmap. In fact, the roadmap features these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

In a previous Go Lean commentary, it was revealed that the government is the largest employer in each Caribbean member-state. So to foster change, it is necessary to engage the governing processes. How can we improve Caribbean governance so as to bring change to our society? Answer: Deploy these functional areas of new electronic systems:

e-Government services are among the strategies, tactics and implementations in the Go Lean roadmap for elevating Caribbean society. While the new federal government will embrace these above e-Systems, the existing governmental structures – municipal, state and NGO’s – can also benefit from the economies-of-scale. See how this functionality is portrayed in the book (Page 51):

The CU’s delivery of ICT [(Internet & Communications Technologies)] systems, e-Government, contact center and in-source services (i.e. property tax systems [and www.myCaribbean.gov]) can put the burden on systems continuity at the federal level and not the member-states. (This is the model of Canada with the federal delivery of provincial systems and services – some Provincial / Territorial presence / governance is completely “virtual”).

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn directions on how to deliver on the ICT promise. The book describes “how” Caribbean communities can adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform our homeland. Consider one advocacy in particular on Page 168; see here some excerpts, summaries and headlines from the Chapter entitled:

10 Ways to Improve Governance in the Caribbean Region

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market
The CU will adopt a “Right to Good Governance” in its charter; thereby bringing accountability beyond state borders. The CU’s initiatives allow for more effective governance by separating many duties that are now managed on a national level to a federal level within the CU. So national governments will perform less services, and with the dividends from the CU, more revenues to control. But with these benefits come greater fiscal accountability.
2 Currency Union & Monetary Control
3 e-Government & e-Delivery

e-Government services for a lot of government functionality will allow economies of scale with regional governments sharing the same systems. This is envisioned for property records-tax assessment-collections, income taxes, auto registrations, vital records, human resources-payroll, and regulatory-compliance-audit functionality. In addition, a lot of government services will be delivered electronically: email, cash disbursements on a card-based benefits card (see Appendix ZV on Page 353), ACH and electronic funds transfer measure for expenditures and revenue collections.

4 Better (and New) Revenue Management
5 Economic Sanctions and Penalties
6 Consolidation of Outstanding Debt
7 CU Capital Markets
8 Economic Crimes and Bankruptcy Jurisdiction
9 Postal Modernization

The CU will assume the responsibility for mail service in the region with modernized systems and processes to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness: zone improvement (ZIP) codes, postal barcodes, sorting-collating equipment, “last-leg-electronic-postal”. The Caribbean Postal Union will deploy thousands of “neighborhood centralized mail box” locations for delivery and collection. All postal employees of the member-states will become Federal Civil Servants.

10 Prison Industrial Labor

The CU will launch the www.myCaribbean.gov on Day One/Step One of this important roadmap. This portal, resembling a social media site, will also be accessible from a smart-phone. So citizens can interact for their government from the palm of their hands. Consider how e-Government and e-Delivery have been portrayed in this sample of previous blog-commentaries:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=13524 Future Focused – e-Government Portal 101
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10513 Transforming ‘Money’ Countrywide
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8823 China’s WeChat: Model for Caribbean Social Media
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7991 Transformations: Caribbean Postal Union – Delivering the Future
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7034 The Future of Money
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=888 How to Re-invent Government in a Digital Image – Book Review

We must reform and transform our Caribbean governing engines. We can easily accomplish this with the new CU Trade Federation – a new federal government.

This is not an option. We have a chance to start over again, and do things right! We can be faster, stronger and better. This is exactly what our region needs right now – e-Government 3.0. We urge all stakeholders to lean-in to this CU/Go Lean roadmap to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix A – Estonia takes the plunge
Sub-title: A national identity scheme goes global

The founders of the internet were academics who took users’ identities on trust. When only research co-operation was at stake, this was reasonable. But the lack of secure identification is now hampering the development of e-commerce and the provision of public services online. In day-to-day life, from banking to dating, if you don’t know who you are dealing with, you are vulnerable to fraud or deceit, or will have to submit to cumbersome procedures such as scanning and uploading documents to prove who you are.

Much work has gone into making systems that can recognise and verify digital IDs. A standard called OpenID Connect, organised by an international non-profit foundation, was launched this year. Mobile-phone operators have started a complementary service, Mobile Connect, which allows identities of all kinds to be authenticated from smartphones.

But providing a digital ID that will be widely used and trusted is far harder. Businesses can check their employees rigorously, and issue credentials for gaining access to buildings, computers and the like. But what about outside the workplace? Facebook, Google and Twitter are all trying to make their accounts a form of ID. But these are issued without verification, so pseudonyms are rife and impersonation easy.

Private providers are offering their own schemes; miiCard, for example, uses bank accounts as a way of issuing a verified online identity. But these fall short of the reliability of a state-backed identity, issued by a government official, checked against other databases, using biometric data (such as fingerprints and retinal scans) and backed by law—in effect an electronic passport.

There is one place where this cyberdream is already reality. Secure, authenticated identity is the birthright of every Estonian: before a newborn even arrives home, the hospital will have issued a digital birth certificate and his health insurance will have been started automatically. All residents of the small Baltic state aged 15 or over have electronic ID cards, which are used in health care, electronic banking and shopping, to sign contracts and encrypt e-mail, as tram tickets, and much more besides—even to vote.

Estonia’s approach makes life efficient: taxes take less than an hour to file, and refunds are paid within 48 hours. By law, the state may not ask for any piece of information more than once, people have the right to know what data are held on them and all government databases must be compatible, a system known as the X-road. In all, the Estonian state offers 600 e-services to its citizens and 2,400 to businesses.

Estonia’s system uses suitably hefty encryption. Only a minimum of private data are kept on the ID card itself. Lost cards can simply be cancelled. And in over a decade, no security breaches have been reported. Also issued are two PIN codes, one for authentication (proving who the holder is) and one for authorisation (signing documents or making payments). Asked to authenticate a user, the service concerned queries a central database to check that the card and relevant code match. It also asks for only the minimum information needed: to check a customer’s age, for example, it does not ask, “How old is this person?” but merely, “Is this person over 18?”

Other governments have tried to issue electronic identity cards. But costs have been high and public resistance strong. Some have proved careless custodians of their citizens’ data. There are fears of snooping. Britain had spent £257m ($370m) of a planned £4.5 billion on a much-criticised ID card scheme by the time the current coalition government scrapped it after coming to office in 2010.

That has left a gap in the global market—one that Estonia hopes to fill. Starting later this year, it will issue ID cards to non-resident “satellite Estonians”, thereby creating a global, government-standard digital identity. Applicants will pay a small fee, probably around €30-50 ($41-68), and provide the same biometric data and documents as Estonian residents. If all is in order, a card will be issued, or its virtual equivalent on a smartphone (held on a special secure module in the SIM card).

Some good ideas never take off because too few people embrace them. And with just 1.3m residents, Estonia is a tiddler—even with the 10m satellite Estonians the government hopes to add over the next decade. What may provide the necessary scale is a European Union rule soon to come into force that will require member states to accept each others’ digital IDs. That means non-resident holders of Estonian IDs, wherever they are, will be able not only to send each other encrypted e-mail and to prove their identity to web-service providers who accept government-issued identities, but also to do business with governments anywhere in the EU.

Estonia is being “very clever”, says Stéphanie de Labriolle of the Secure Identity Alliance, an international working group. Marie Austenaa of the GSMA, a global association of mobile-phone firms, praises it too. Allan Foster of ForgeRock, a firm that is working on government ID schemes in Belgium, New Zealand and elsewhere, thinks that the new satellite Estonians will help change attitudes to secure digital identities in their own countries, too.

The scheme’s advantages for Estonia are multiple. It will help it shed the detested “ex-Soviet” tag and promote itself as a paragon of good government and innovation. It will attract investment: once you have an Estonian ID, setting up a company there takes only a few minutes. And it will create an electronic diaspora all over the world with a stake in the country’s survival—no small matter at a time when the threat from Russia is keenly felt. (Estonia is also planning to back up all its national data to secure “digital embassies” in friendly foreign countries.)

Struck by the X-road’s scalability and security, and the fact that it has already worked well for over a decade, Finland and other countries are adopting the Estonian system in whole or in part. But for foreign individuals, perhaps its greatest appeal is that it is optional. Those who like the system’s convenience, security and flexibility can apply (though Estonia’s chief information officer, Taavi Kotka, who is taking time away from his real-life job running an IT company, stresses that the ID is a privilege, not a right). Those who feel queasy about a foreign state having access to their personal data can steer clear.

Mr Kotka says that Estonia aims to do for identity what American Express cards did for international travel in the 1960s: to simplify life. But the bigger point is that government-verified identity has been divorced from location. If Estonia’s scheme takes off some other countries may well decide to follow its lead. Some may aim at volume; others, to target the top end, as with the market in non-resident investors’ passports. Soon, multiple satellite citizenship may even become the norm.

Source: The Economist Magazine – Posted June 28, 2018; retrieved June 20, 2018 from: https://web.archive.org/web/20140701170642/http://www.economist.com/news/international/21605923-national-identity-scheme-goes-global-estonia-takes-plunge


Appendix B – Estonia: A model for e-Government
Over the next decade, the population of Estonia is expected to soar more than 600% as the country becomes the first in the world to open its borders to an influx of e-residents.

Estonia: A model for e-Government. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277943805_Estonia_A_model_for_e-government [accessed Jun 19 2018].


Appendix C VIDEO – Estonia Built the Society of the Future from Scratch – https://youtu.be/cHkIfiTGmzo

Beme News
Published on Jan 10, 2018 – A tech revolution is going down in Estonia…of all places. The tiny Baltic nation has built a futuristic, digital-first society. Lou explains how it works, why it works, and if it will work elsewhere.

Sources & Further Reading:
E-Estonia’ official website – https://e-estonia.com/
Estonia the Digital Republic – https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20…
Is This Tiny European Nation a Preview of Our Tech Future? – http://fortune.com/2017/04/27/estonia…
How long it takes to file taxes in Estonia – http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-met…
How long it takes to file taxes in the U.S. – https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/…
Why Americans didn’t vote in 2016 – http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/…

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