Section 6.0

The E-Government Initiative project team identified early on a set of important policy issues that need to be addressed as part of the E-Government strategic planning process. In order to address these issues and incorporate recommended strategies in the E-Government Strategic Plan and Roadmap, five workgroups of the E-Government Task Force were created.

While the Accenture team was focusing on conducting the eDiagnosis and eStrategy phases of the project, the workgroups met six or seven times over a month and a half period to discuss the various policy issues and to develop recommended strategies for consideration by the Task Force and the Steering Committee.

The five workgroups were chaired by members of the Steering Committee and consisted of Task Force members as well as other people recommended by the Task Force or Steering Committee. Staff from ITD's Strategic Planning Group supported each workgroup. The list of E-Government policy workgroups members can be found in Appendix 5. The five policy areas considered by the workgroups were:

  • Organizational Support/Governance
  • Marketing & Branding
  • Funding & Revenue Generation
  • Accessibility & Digital Divide
  • Policy & Legal Framework

This section summarizes the findings and recommended strategies of the Task Force Policy Workgroups as well as the Steering Committee's conclusions. The subsections below are organized by policy area.

The findings of the workgroups have informed and will continue to inform the decisions of the Task Force and the Steering Committee as the Massachusetts E-Government Initiative proceeds. Some of the recommended policy strategies have been put on a fast track and are already being developed and implemented by the E-Government Project Team.

6.1 GOVERNANCE

6.1.1 Issue Definition

E-Government adds a new, and very different, way for the public to interact with the Commonwealth. E-Government enables a citizen, or business, to work with several different government organizations at the same time from within in a single web page. The traditional ways of managing customer interactions and information technology may not be effective to gain the transformational, cross-jurisdictional benefits of E-Government. Any proposed Governance structure must address the cross-jurisdictional nature of E-Government and must provide for ongoing flexibility as the Commonwealth's E-Government program matures.

Given the Commonwealth's current position and its evolving E-Government programs, the following principles should guide the design of an effective Governance structure:

  • Allow for quick implementation in order to capitalize on the momentum of the E-Government initiative
  • Enable the Commonwealth to establish new E-Government assets within the time frame and scope provided by the current funding stream
  • Provide for meaningful cross-branch and cross-agency participation
  • Support the administration of a centralized fund for E-Government
  • Reflect the current structure without adding significant new approval layers
  • Enable ongoing adaptation and evolution as the E-Government program matures

6.1.2 Summary of Recommended Strategies

A cross-agency working group met to discuss and recommend strategies to achieve effective Governance and Organizational Support for E-Government. Informed by the work and recommendations of this work group, the E-Government Steering Committee offered a modification to the structure proposed by the Working Group. This change was proposed to clarify lines of responsibility and to make sure the Governance structure could be put into place quickly.

The organization chart on the following page combines the recommended strategies from the Governance Working Group with the comments of the E-Government Steering Committee. All the operational responsibilities recommended by the Working Group remain. The combination of recommendations anchors the E-Government organization structure within the existing organizational framework of the Executive Office of Administration and Finance. Furthermore, the E-Government Steering Committee is expanded to retain the power of cross-jurisdictional input that so successfully guided the development of this eStrategy. With support from the Office of E-Government Services, on-going policy advisory groups will continue to operate much in the same way as they did throughout the E-Government eStrategy development process. Over time, these groups may evolve and change, operating on an ad hoc basis, addressing new issues as they arise.


Responsibilities of Each Body

The following responsibilities are not meant to be all-inclusive, and in fact are meant to simply paint a picture of the functional model.

Secretary of Administration and Finance

  • Approve strategy and policy
  • Establish priorities and approve large-scale proposals
  • Secure and allocate funding
  • Appoint the E-Government Steering Committee

E-Government Steering Committee

  • Comprised of top government leaders encompassing the three branches of government and the Constitutional Officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and will include some private sector representation
  • Convey vision and set direction for E-Government activities
  • Advise the Commissioner of E-Government and Chief Information Officer
  • Advise the development of policy, strategic planning and project selection criteria
  • Assess feasibility of new ideas; review and guide development of proposals
  • Recommend E-Government performance measures
  • Guide the work of ongoing Policy Advisory Groups, which would be responsible for conducting research on evolving issues and building consensus among interested parties

Commissioner of E-Government and Chief Information Officer

  • Direct the development of E-Government policy and strategic plan
  • Recommend priorities and large-scale proposals
  • Execute the allocation of a centralized fund for E-Government

Director of E-Government and Office of E-Government Services

  • Execute policy and strategic plan
  • Facilitate project selection and assess feasibility of ideas
  • Conduct cost/benefit analyses to assist the Commissioner and Steering Committee
  • Provide the continuity and coordination for the various projects that will make up the portal
  • Provide technical support
  • Manage the operation of the Commonwealth Enterprise Portal

Task Management Groups (TMG)

  • Originate, develop and implement proposals.
  • Project management and product development.
  • Content definition/development.
  • Assemble team resources and coordinate cross-jurisdictional team.
  • Promote the full integration of web-enabled transactions into the business processes of state agencies and other organizations.
  • Define operations and maintenance plans.
  • Transition to production operations.

6.1.2 Conclusions on Governance

Within the last year there has been substantial nationwide movement toward implementing effective E-Government. Over thirty-five Governors have announced E-Government as a priority. Every state has some Internet presence, and almost all are moving to make information, interactions and transactions available on the web. They are putting components of the technology in place; management is committed, and projects are being scheduled and implemented.

Many believe they are doing all the right things to succeed with their E-Government strategy.

The issue that stands out as the most critical is the Governance structure itself. Faced with the challenges of E-Government, states are discovering that they need leadership, flexibility and creativity to translate the decision into productive actions.

The proposed organization lays out a foundation for effective leadership. Its design not only reflects the need for quick implementation and cross-jurisdictional input; it also reflects the need for citizen interaction policies and program design to be set by service and product experts and not technical experts. By retaining ongoing input from top policy leaders in the Commonwealth, the design also answers the call for additional business and marketing expertise.

This structure would be quick to implement, would maximize flexibility, and adds the crucial support and buy-in of policy leaders. It is consistent with the current organizational structure, and could facilitate buy in and coordination among agencies and central administration. Furthermore, it elevates E-Government to a significant role within the Secretariat, provides clear lines to funding, budgeting and monitoring authorities and capabilities. It also provides a coordination point for ongoing information technology functions and sets technology considerations in an enabling context. It provides for input from outside experts, yet obtains it efficiently and without disrupting or duplicating current decision making structures. It also will allow modifications over time as the needs for Governance change. And most importantly, it connects current leaders directly to the E-Government initiatives, and therefore optimizes the chances for new, critically important forms of leadership to be exercised.

Effective E-Government is about "the customer view of government", not technology. Because of the transformational, cross-jurisdictional nature of this initiative, it requires unprecedented coordination, collaboration, and a whole-of-government approach. The proposed organization design is but a first step in achieving this vision. Truly capitalizing on the momentum for change will require ongoing adaptation and continued evolution of an effective E-Government Governance structure. This will be a key challenge for Commonwealth leaders as they move forward with E-Government in the future.

6.2 MARKETING & BRANDING

6.2.1. Issue Definition

It's a well-known fact that the old adage "If we build it, they will come" is untrue as demonstrated by the multitude of dot-coms that are closing their doors. Private enterprise has proven that successful web sites are dependent on name recognition, a well-designed web site that delivers quality services based on customer needs, and excellent customer service. Without these elements, customers do not return and it is not enough to simply build traffic.

These same concepts apply to government. It is clear that the Commonwealth must have a high volume of completed transactions to realize the full potential of E-Government in terms of improved services, efficiencies, cost savings and economies of scale. The faster usage builds, the quicker the return. The potential return on E-Government creates the perfect opportunity for the Commonwealth to take a new look at marketing with the goals of building services that satisfy customer needs and increasing usage dramatically.

Massachusetts, like other governments, has done limited marketing historically, but has realized that marketing can be advantageous. This is particularly true with the advent of government electronic services. The Registry of Motor Vehicles is an excellent example of successful marketing in the Commonwealth that has resulted in building high usage on a web site. The RMV has used existing channels like inserting announcements in their renewal mailings that direct people to MassRMV.com.

By and large, marketing by Massachusetts government entities tends to be information-oriented and conducted by targeted campaigns during business transactions and using media coverage and public service announcements. These are very valuable channels that can be capitalized on in the future. The workgroup addresses the ways in which the Commonwealth can use marketing to its advantage in launching the new state portal.

6.2.2 Summary of Workgroup Recommended Strategies and E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusions

1. Develop a strong brand.

The branding elements of the portal web site should convey a single, unified message to all stakeholders. Brand elements should include and leverage the State's imagery, iconography and messaging elements. The brand architecture should extend to and be manifested in the various state agencies' marketing and communications materials.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. The E-Gov governance entity will be charged with carrying out this recommended strategy.

2. Create a new brand name.

The workgroup recommends that the brand names "MassGov.com" and "Massachusetts.gov" be considered for the portal site for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as others.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. Terra Lycos, a member of the E-Gov Steering Committee, agreed to conduct focus group/market research to test several brand name possibilities. Terra Lycos also agreed to develop a white paper on branding and co-branding strategies based on its experience in this area. The E-Gov Steering Committee will make a decision regarding a brand name after market research is concluded.

3. Employ co-branding practices with agencies.

The various state agencies' representation on the portal site should be implemented in a "co-branding" architecture. This allows the agencies to control their content and services within the site while presenting the unified face of the main brand to site users in terms of look-and-feel and common navigation controls.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. As mentioned above, Terra Lycos is developing a white paper on branding/co-branding. The E-Gov governance entity needs to incorporate marketing and branding as a core function.

4. Internally brand the portal site.

An awareness, education and training campaign about the State's new web brand should be developed for all government employees to understand the importance of this online endeavor and why it is beneficial to the site's consumers. A private intranet site for government employees would be a good platform on which to do this.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. The E-Gov governance entity will be charged with carrying out this recommended strategy.

5. Perform continuous market research on user preferences for services.

Market research directed at truly understanding customer needs and preferences should be undertaken throughout the life of the portal to ensure a successful, customer-centric portal.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. The E-Gov governance entity will determine implementation steps regarding this recommended strategy.

6. Pursue design excellence.

The portal site should be designed based on customer preferences by a top-tier professional web design firm with significant experience in branding, information architecture, and usability.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. The E-Gov governance entity needs to incorporate marketing and branding as a core function.

7. Establish a central marketing organization for the new portal site within a central E-Gov organization.

A new, separate marketing organization should be created to plan, implement and establish the State's online portal brand and coordinate its marketing programs with all agencies. This group would work with various policy, marketing, operational and technical people from the respective agencies.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. The E-Gov governance entity needs to incorporate marketing and branding as a core function.

8. Implement a comprehensive marketing plan that includes a phased, coordinated and lasting promotional campaign.

A phased approach, starting with a "soft launch" should be used until the portal site is fully functional with a broad array of services. As the site develops, targeted campaigns directed at audiences appropriate to service offerings should be implemented. Through coordination with state agencies, the new portal site, once fully functional, should be advertised and promoted through the numerous channels of promotion to create awareness of the brand and drive traffic to the portal site.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. The E-Gov governance entity will be charged with carrying out this recommended strategy.

9. Announce the new brand name of the site in February 2001.

Serving to create awareness and maintain momentum of this government portal initiative, announce the new brand name of the site and provide basic information on the site with an estimated timetable of information and transaction service launches. Options could also include a web questionnaire for users to rank preferred services and a contest for a slogan associated with the site, submitted on this site.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. ITD will take the lead to create a "preview" site for the state portal which will incorporate a web-based potential user questionnaire to poll preferences for services provided through the portal.

10. Investigate potential partnerships.

Based on market surveys, pursue relationships with content providers to provide information that strengthens the content on the portal.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. The E-Gov governance entity will determine implementation steps regarding this recommended strategy.

6.3 FUNDING & REVENUE GENERATION

6.3.1 Issue Definition

One of the biggest barriers for governments trying to implement "one-stop shops" or E-Government portals is identifying sources of funding available for an endeavor of this magnitude. The costs associated with a portal consist of:

Ø Costs to develop the portal and associated transaction applications

Ø Costs to maintain the portal

Ø Costs associated with the processing of transactions available on the portal - credit card fees and third party fees

Currently, the Commonwealth does not have a coordinated approach to funding agency-specific E-Gov projects. This is having a negative effect on increasing the availability of online services that involve payments. Funding IT investments in individual agency budgets makes cross-agency project implementation difficult. Major IT investments in the last few years have been supported with capital funds. The workgroup addressed these challenges, and developed the recommended strategies below.

6.3.2 Summary of Workgroup Recommended Strategies and E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusions

Consider the following Traditional Revenue Options:

  • Reallocate non-E-Gov spending to E-Gov, and keep total spending level.

Reduce agency operating budgets by the amount needed to finance all or a portion of E-Gov costs.

  • Authorize year-end transfer of a portion of a FY01 budget surplus.

If there is a surplus at the end of this fiscal year, a portion of it could be reserved to finance E-Gov and minimize the impact of E-Gov spending on agency operating budgets. We do not recommend relying upon surplus revenue from subsequent fiscal years.

  • Cost avoidance

In the long run, some E-Gov programs may bring about significant efficiencies and cost savings. Down the road, tangible savings can be set aside to pay for additional E-Gov initiatives.

Consider the following Nontraditional Revenue Options:

  • Public-private business partnerships

These partnershipshave the potential to generate substantial revenue. We recommend formation of specialized workgroups appointed by the E-Gov Task Force to verify the potential through extensive research. We recommend that these workgroups also brainstorm ideas for additional novel partnerships with the private sector.

  • Maximize federal grants

The state could maximize federal grants by establishing a central clearinghouse for federal grant information and grant management. We recommend additional research by those with more expertise in this area to verify the need for such a clearinghouse, and the potential revenues arising from this source.

  • User fees for government-to-business (G2B) services or transactions ( excluding credit card and similar forms of online payment)

We recommend additional research by representatives from agencies with the most to gain or lose by charging fees.

  • User fees for credit card and similar forms of online payment

The Workgroup recommends that a task force with appropriate expertise be charged with aggressively pursuing lower-cost alternatives to credit cards. Concurrently, another individual or task force should be designated to work with intergovernmental organizations to negotiate better fees or terms with the credit card industry.

Nontraditional Revenue Options Not Recommended:

  • User fees for government-to-citizen (G2C) services or transactions ( excluding credit card and similar forms of online payment)

The Workgroup generally discourages charging added fees for G2C E-Gov services. We propose allowing agencies to charge fees for G2C services on a case-by-case basis, after presenting a well-researched marketing and cost-benefit analyses which estimate the impact of fees. After fees have been allowed, agencies should be required to report on the actual impact of the fees.

  • Fully privatize development and maintenance of a statewide Web portal (i.e., "self-funding" models.)

The Workgroup does not recommend this particular privatization option, but does recommend that the Commonwealth continually monitor and evaluate other potential privatization models that could assist in meeting our E-Gov goals.

  • Advertising on state Websites

The Workgroup does not believe it is prudent to rely upon advertising dollars, at least in the early phases of E-Gov. We do think advertising merits further study, especially to verify the claim that the revenues will not be enough to justify the expenditure of political capital. Prior to any advertising policy determination, we recommend a full legal analysis by those who would be called on to defend the Commonwealth's advertising policies.

Recommended Funding Mechanisms:

  • Split cost of becoming "E-Gov ready" between agency and central funding source

A hybrid approach balances the need for buy-in against the reality that E-Gov is here to stay and there are finite funds available to pay for it. The state should create a matching funding process whereby the cost of becoming "E-Gov ready" is split by the agency and a central funding source.

  • Consider various funding mechanisms
  1. IT Bond should be used for financing startup costs.
  2. Central "E-Gov Fund" split into a:
    1. general fund to be used for startup costs and ongoing maintenance of centralized E-Gov projects.
    2. revolving fund for cross-agency and agency-specific E-Gov projects.
  1. Agency line item appropriations to be used for agency-specific E-Gov project maintenance.
  2. Benefit funding through partnerships with E-Gov vendors to finance development costs out of measurable cost savings.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee considered the recommended strategies put forth by the workgroup. In recommending both traditional and non-traditional revenue options, the workgroup addressed both short-term and long-term funding strategies. Some of the longer-term strategies will have to be considered by the E-Gov governance entity. Long-term funding alternatives may include a new IT bond (capital funds) and non-traditional revenue options. To meet the short-term funding needs of the E-Gov initiative, the Steering Committee is recommending accessing the $60m in this year's capital resource fund. ITD should also include E-Gov funding needs in their current discussions with the Fiscal Affairs Division regarding IT Bond III. In addition, ITD should, in the immediate future, develop policies regarding advertising on the state's websites and user fees for web-based transactions consistent with the recommended strategies of the workgroup.


6.4 ACCESSIBILITY AND THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

6.4.1 Issue Definition

Government uses technology to provide easier, effective and faster access to services. As this knowledge-based economy continues to develop, sound technical and literacy skills will increasingly be prerequisites to participation in government, the workforce, and most areas of daily life.

Yet, the explosion of the Internet has not penetrated all segments of the population, resulting in the creation of the digital divide. The digital divide refers to "the fact that the world can be divided into people who do and people who don't have access to - and the capability to use - modern information technology." [1] In Massachusetts, as well as on a national scale, this divide persists between the technology "haves" and "have nots."

Various efforts are currently underway in the schools and elsewhere throughout the state to identify the causes of the digital divide and to recommend approaches for mitigation. Many of these approaches recognize government alone cannot solve the problem. There are numerous, yet disparate digital divide initiatives in the state. The workgroup's recommended strategies outline the leadership role that the state could play in bridging the divide as the Commonwealth rolls out the E-Government Portal.

6.4.2 Summary of Workgroup Recommended Strategies and E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusions

1. Lead and coordinate digital divide efforts

The Commonwealth should take the leadership role in unifying and strengthening the numerous digital divide efforts within the state.

  • Conduct a statewide state survey to identify existing programs that are addressing the digital divide.
  • Create a clearinghouse of information and establish resource center(s) that focus on overcoming access and accessibility.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. The E-Gov governance entity will be charged with carrying out this recommended strategy.

2. Maximize the number of service entities online

Connectivity is crucial in coordinating the programs and services offered throughout the state. The state should be a resource and aid in maximizing the number of public/nonprofit service entities on-line.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. The E-Gov governance entity will determine implementation steps regarding this recommended strategy.

3. Include all populations in E-Government planning

The Commonwealth should ensure that all future planning and governance groups contain participants representing a cross-section of our population.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. The E-Gov governance entity will be charged with carrying out this recommended strategy.

4. Address geographic barriers

The state should fully leverage the state's demand for services to serve as a catalyst for infrastructure and technology investments in all areas of the state.

  • Develop or enhance programs in geographic pockets where access and accessibility are issues.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. The E-Gov governance entity will determine implementation steps regarding this recommended strategy.

5. Address economic barriers

The state should seek out projects that provide access to the public where citizens or businesses do not have the economic means to access state E-Government services.

  • Increase support for schools, community-based centers and non-profit agencies providing access and/or training to the public.
  • Use purchasing power of the Commonwealth to encourage vendors to invest in underserved areas.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. The E-Gov governance entity will determine implementation steps regarding this recommended strategy.

6. Address literacy/language barriers

The Commonwealth should create a comprehensive computer literacy training plan to ensure that the entire population has the skills to access and use E-Gov services. In addition, the state should work internally, through its own network of schools and state employees to decrease the literacy/language barriers that currently exist. Also, since literacy levels affect individuals' ability to understand content, newly authored Web content should be crafted from the start to be clear and understandable.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports this recommended strategy. The E-Gov governance entity will determine implementation steps regarding this recommended strategy.

7. Address disability barriers

The Commonwealth should require that the portal and all Commonwealth agency Web sites participating in the portal meet the Double-A conformance level of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. It will be necessary to not only incorporate Web accessibility standards into this new portal but to also ensure that public access areas are equipped with adaptive devices and resources.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee agrees that we should require that the portal and all Commonwealth agency websites participating in the portal meet the state's Web Accessibility Standards. The Steering Committee delegates review of this recommendation to ITD's Strategic Planning Group (SPG) which is responsible for developing and publishing Commonwealth IT standards.

As part of its regular standard-setting process, SPG assembles agency representatives to periodically review and revise IT standards as necessary. A group of state agency web masters was brought together to develop the current Web Accessibility Standards v.1.0 based on W3C guidelines. The group reviewed the guidelines in light of the current Commonwealth environment and the availability of enabling technologies. These standards, which are currently in effect, ensure universal access.

The Steering Committee recommends that when the web accessibility standards come up for review next, the group consider meeting the Double-A conformance level of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.


6.5 POLICY & LEGAL FRAMEWORK

6.5.1 Issue Definition

Concern is growing about the electronic capture and use of personal information by government entities. Surveys show that nearly 53 percent of Americans worry about the general potential for less personal privacy as a result of E-Government. [2] Government's biggest challenge is finding a balance between the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and public records laws with the privacy requirements that citizens are demanding.

Currently, the private sector is being urged to develop privacy policies that are prominently displayed on their websites informing users how their data is being collected, manipulated, stored, and disseminated. Many states have adopted this model and have a standard web site privacy policy that is prominently displayed on their home page. Several Massachusetts agencies have very robust privacy policies for their specific sites, but there is no statewide privacy policy in place.

Privacy and security are tightly coupled. In order to protect privacy, information and information systems must be protected, too. Currently, two thirds of Americans are very concerned about the possibility of hackers breaking into government computers, making this the number one public concern about E-Government. [3] Government officials also identify the threat of hackers and the loss of privacy as their top concerns about E-Government. Massachusetts currently has a security architecture that agencies are encouraged to use, but there is no statewide security policy in place.

Finally, many government rules and regulations currently reflect a paper-based world. As E-Government becomes the new way of doing business, the Commonwealth needs to revisit its rules and regulations to ensure their applicability. The following summary of the workgroup's recommended strategies addresses these concerns.

6.5.2 Summary of Workgroup Recommended Strategies and E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusions

1. Information Security

  • Create an Enterprise Information Security Policy that sets minimum information security standards for state agencies.
  • Develop a consistent data classification scheme which will be essential for interagency applications.
  • Establish a mechanism for harmonizing security practices in the three branches.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports all of the recommended information security strategies. Due to its importance, the Information Technology Division (ITD) will take the lead in coordinating the development of an enterprise security policy. Information security will be a major policy issue addressed by the E-Gov governance entity.

2. Privacy Protection

  • Build upon the existing privacy efforts, such as the Cellucci/Swift Executive Order 412, to ensure that government is subject to more stringent privacy protections than the private sector.
  • Create an Enterprise Privacy Policy that sets minimum privacy protection standards for all state agencies. The policy should include standard language for each agency's website to inform the public about what data is being collected, what it is used for, and under what conditions it can or will be transferred to other agencies or to parties outside state government.
  • Create a mechanism to facilitate the review of privacy considerations before any data is made publicly available online. Sometimes public records available in paper format are not necessarily appropriate for online publication.
  • Revisit the Public Records Law due to the rise of widespread E-Government (there was broad consensus on this point though the group was not unanimous).
  • Conduct further study on privacy enhancing technologies and their incorporation into the portal design.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports all of the recommended privacy protection strategies. Privacy protection will be another major policy issue addressed by the E-Gov governance entity. Development of an enterprise privacy policy is a requirement prior to the release of the portal. Therefore, ITD will take the lead with agency participation to develop a website privacy policy in a timely manner.

3. Records Management

  • Develop clearer guidance through the Records Conservation Board for state agencies on records management rules for electronic records systems.
  • Adopt an Enterprise Electronic Records Management Policy that sets minimum, formally documented standards for all state agencies that are subject to audit verification.
  • Balance the laws requiring access to public records with the requirements prohibiting the release of private or confidential data when a request for agency records is made under the Public Records Law.
  • Consider records management implications during the design, procurement, installation and operation phases.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports all of the recommended records management strategies. Records management is another major policy area that the E-Gov governance entity will need to address.

4. Removing Legal Barriers

  • Provide guidance to state agencies on the implications of the federal E-SIGN statute on electronic records and signatures and other electronic business.
  • Enact the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act.
  • Involve agency counsel early in the design phase of all E-Government services to identify potential legal obstacles not addressed by E-SIGN and the version of UETA that is enacted.
  • Proposed revisions may need to be considered for the Uniform Commercial Code and other statutes that affect the operation of E-Government at least on the procurement side.

E-Gov Steering Committee Conclusion: The Steering Committee supports all of the recommended strategies for removing legal barriers. An assessment of the legal barriers and an action plan to address them will be a major responsibility of the E-Gov governance entity.

Two issues need immediate attention and need to be put on a faster track. Therefore ITD will take the lead on the following action items:

  • Coordinate the administration's approach to enact the Massachusetts version of the UETA in light of existing legislative efforts in this area.
  • Assemble a group of legal counsels to analyze and provide guidance to state agencies on the federal ESIGN statute now in effect.


[1] As defined by the IT-specific Encyclopedia, WhatIs.com [http://whatis.techtarget.com/WhatIs_Search_Results_Exact/1,282033,,00.html?query=digital+divide]

[2] E-Government: The Next American Revolution. Prepared by Hart-Teeter for the Council of Excellence in Government, September 2000. p. 4.

[3] E-Government: The Next American Revolution. Prepared by Hart-Teeter for the Council of Excellence in Government, September 2000. p. 4