Primer on E-Government: Sectors, Stages, Opportunities, and Challenges of Online Governance [Updated January 28, 2003]   [open pdf - 107KB]

"Electronic government (e-government) intersects many legislative issues, including privacy, digital divide (the lack of equal access to computers, whether due to a lack of financial resources or necessary skills), public access to government information, service delivery, and information security...To help policymakers discern e-government initiatives relative to their role in various issues, this report identifies and defines the principal e-government sectors and stages of development. It also outlines some of the opportunities and challenges associated with e-government...The Gartner Group, summarizes e-government as "the continuous optimization of service delivery, constituency participation, and governance by transforming internal and external relationships through technology, the Internet, and new media"...One of the hallmarks of a federal system of governance is the emphasis on vertical divisions of power. In contrast, e-government initiatives utilize information technologies that emphasize a horizontal, or networked, model of communication and interaction...Although e-government encompasses a wide range of activities and actors, three distinct sectors can be identified. These include government-to-government (G2G), government-to-business (G2B), and government-to-citizen (G2C)...Due to a variety of technical, economic, and political reasons, e-government initiatives take time to evolve into their full potential. Consequently, one can divide e-government projects into four stages of evolution: presence, interaction, transaction, and transformation...Finally, proponents and critics of e-government recognize that there are a variety of opportunities and challenges involved with the successful implementation of e-government initiatives. Some of the potential opportunities include new services, increased citizen participation in government, and an enhanced national information infrastructure. Some of the potential challenges include information security and privacy, disparities in computer access, and management and funding requirements. This report will be updated as events warrant." - From Summary

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31057
Public Domain
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