White House touts e-government accomplishments

The White House this week touted its eight-year commitment to advancing e-government with the release of the third and final report by the administration's working group on e-commerce. The paper, "Leadership For The New Millennium: Delivering on Digital Progress and Prosperity," documents more than 1,300 e-government initiatives undertaken since 1993. Jack Lew, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, said that "enormous progress" has been made towards making all government services available online by October 2003. He pointed to FirstGov.gov, the Federal government's Web portal, as an example of the successful partnering of the private sector with the Federal, state, and local governments to provide citizens with quick access to more than 27 million Federal Web pages. Lew praised advances in Federal e-procurement, saying that sales through the General Services Administration's Advantage program, which allows government employees to purchase goods online, increased 50 percent in 2000, and that by late September of last year they were topping $1 million a day. The Smart Pay program, which provides government agencies with purchasing charge cards, saved the federal government more than $1 billion in fiscal year 1999, Lew reported. Passing digital signature legislation was a milestone in the Clinton presidency, and Lew said the administration was responsible for developing "the public key infrastructure which is necessary to establish security in this electronic government world." On a similar note, OMB last spring instructed all federal agencies to post their privacy policies on their Web sites. Lew said that nearly every agency has since complied with the directive and that they now inform visitors why certain data is being collected and what it being done with it. "Technology is the promise of changing the world," Lew said. "It offers a possibility of not only making government better and more efficient, but fundamentally to rethink how government should work."
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