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Transaction and information in e-gov, in Bremen, and in Gipuzkoa

Luistxo Fernandez 2005/06/04 08:12

Martin Hagen of Bremen gave us a good presentation about his work as a e-government official at his city-state in Germany. This was the most interesting thing we heard at the 2nd and final day of the e-government meeting at San Sebastian.

Hagen explained us that there are three layers for the presence of govt. in the internet:

  1. Information
  2. Communication
  3. Transaction

Although his work and, therefore, the focus of his presentation was on the 3rd layer, he stressed that the biggest use of Internet by citizens is in the 1st level. His own data and conclusions about the transactions that really take place in Bremen, which has a complete catalogue of e-services, also leads to that conclusion:

  • Intermediaries account for the most part of usage of e-services / transactions.

It's logic. We don't want to pay fines by Internet. We don't want to pay them at all. It is lawyers, tax agents and businesses that want to do that, because it´s part of their function. And, yes, we at the end, citizens, pay our taxes, but mostly through intermediaries. So, as Martin explained, e-services have to be marketed towards businesses and intermediaries. Good point. I completely agree.

The situation in Gipuzkoa (or the Basque Country at large)

Would the organizers, the local authorities of Gipuzkoa in the Basque Country, draw the same conclusion? I doubt it. They presented us with a complete citizen service in which, if we get a certification card, we may access the car fines we haven't paid since the 80s... Ummmm, is that really what we citizens want?

Moreover, not only that, but they think that this kind of service may be delivered by digital TV, in some channel with administrative information... Will that bring down the TV share of CSI or sports? Broadcasters must be terrified, I guess.

Yet, most of the Internet efforts of Gipuzkoa fail at point 1, of the list that Martin presented: Information. It's diffficult to reach, chaotic, incomplete, and RSS or concepts like web services have been, so far, completely alien to them.

But well, they are focused on layer 3, and want to do that also by TV and m-governmnet, and who knows. That TV scheme seems expensive, on a scale of 1-10000 at least, compared to what may cost a complete RSS-fication of public information in Gipuzkoa. What does this mean? That there will be more marketeers from bigger companies pushing for the big TV project, taking their handful of euros, and that the other possible RSS project may well be regarded as unimportant.

Good practices in Gipuzkoa? Yes, they are, ignored by authorities

And it´s not that difficult to do work on layer 1: information. That´s what citizens want, not fines. No very much examples of Basque administrations giving information properly were provided... Of course, organizers were blind to people that work in Gipuzkoa... They forgot who are the real bloggers here ( and, both with technology provided by our company CodeSyntax), instead gave free propaganda to the Diario Vasco media powerhouse; and they also forgot the work done by CodeSyntax and Goiena as software and content-management providers of some of the town councils with the finest websites in Gipuzkoa. Take Eskoriatza two languages, easy interface, just information, not much more than that, but easy to use, and managed by a contract that the town council has with Goiena a local media cooperative company. RSS, email bulletins and easy to use HTML that provide continous information in two languages...

And, then, in parallel, Goiena serves the community with a portal for news, discussion and participation, with bloggers from the town, fora and else. A place for true citizne participation, don't know if it may be labelled e-democracy...

There they had a nice model: and there's a department in Gipuzkoa's main authority called Innovation and Society of Information that doesn't even know that these things exist.

Thumbs up and thumbs down for Martin Hagen

Two notes more about Martin's presentation:

  • They asked Martin to provide other good European examples, and he mentioned Austria's portal. Well, that is Zope, again.
  • It's sad that many features of Bremen Online don't seem to work with Firefox...
Michel Bollor
Michel Bollor dio:
2005/06/07 17:23

Hello Luistxo,

Are you the webmaster of Geonative ?



Luistxo dio:
2005/06/07 19:04

Yes. I created Geonative long ago, on the 20th century, when Geocities and its 1 Mb of static HTML space looked like paradise. It's almost forgotten and hasn't been renewed for years. But, I suppose that it is still an interesting thing...

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Luistxo works in CodeSyntax, tweets as @Luistxo and tries to manage the automated newssite Niagarank. This Cemetery is part of a distributed multilingual blog (?!). These are the Basque and Spanish versions:

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