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E-Governance Policies for Interoperability and Open Standards - Abstact

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Laura DeNardis
Yale Information Society Project; Yale Law School

June 24, 2010

Yale Information Society Project Working Paper

Information and communication technology standards are increasingly intertwined with functions that are paradigmatic responsibilities of governments. The degree of openness in technical standards can have public policy implications in several areas: a nation's innovation and competition policy; the ability of governments to efficiently and cost effectively perform services such as national security, disaster response, and e-health administration; and the ways in which standards serve as a form of regulation making decisions such as the extent of user privacy on the Internet. Because of these possible policy implications, governments have a vested interest in promoting open technical standards adhering to principles of transparency, cost efficiency, and interoperability.

This paper examines various possibilities for governments to engage with information and communication technology standardization (e.g. development, regulation, funding, adoption) and ultimately recommends that governments, as significant parts of technology markets, can exert market influence, as well as provide efficient e-Governance functions, through procurement policies that promote open standards, often through electronic government interoperability frameworks (e-GIFs) specifying information technology standards for e-Governance infrastructures. These procurement policies are the least interventionist of possible roles for governments in standardization because they do not mandate that private industry adopt particular standards and do not intervene directly in the standards-development process.

Drawing from roundtable discussions with government officials at the United Nations Development Programme's Global Meeting on Government Interoperability Frameworks in Brazil, this paper surveys a number of existing government interoperability frameworks (Brazil, the European Union, Japan, and South Africa) and recommends best practices for these emerging e-Governance frameworks.

Yale Information Society Project Working Paper

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