The focus of e-government (in German: electronic government) is the interaction between citizens and the state on the basis of modern media. Communication between the economy and the state as well as the processes within public administration are also part of e-government. The Internet plays a major role in this. It enables the authorities to make information and services available to the general public in a way that goes beyond conventional means.
- A well-known example of e-government is the ELSTER project, in which citizens and companies can process their tax returns and tax registrations online.
- The electronic functions of the new identity card or the encrypted communication via the De-Mail process are used for secure identification vis-à-vis authorities.
Examples of e-government
- Provision of information as part of a website,
- Knowledge databases,
- Implementation of services,
- Citizen participation,
- Coordination of official services,
- Chats, forums and newsletters.
A well-known example of e-government is the ELSTER project, in which citizens and companies can process their tax returns and tax registrations online.
What does e-government bring?
New digital forms of communication and interaction enable citizens to obtain information from authorities around the clock. Information is thus decoupled from the premises and opening times of the authority and is available in digital form in a variety of ways. For people with disabilities in particular, e-government is an immense relief. You can easily communicate online with the authorities or conduct information research.
There are also advantages for the authorities themselves. The multitude of new technical possibilities enables processes to be automated and consequently simplified. In addition, work steps within the authority are made transparent, as information channels are better documented and distributed. Ultimately, this in turn benefits the citizens. The time saved means that other tasks can be processed faster.
At the political level, the use of modern information technologies is important for citizens’ initiatives, political parties and also for holding elections and referendums.
Into the digital age with the e-government law
In April 2013, the black and yellow federal government passed a law to promote electronic administration so that citizens can apply for a child’s birth certificate, child benefit or pension electronically or find out the processing status of a case in the future. According to this, federal authorities and administrations are obliged, among other things, to offer electronic contact options and make forms available digitally.
The electronic functions of the new identity card or the encrypted communication via the De-Mail process are used for secure identification vis-à-vis authorities. For this, citizens and authorities have to register for a De-Mail account, which is offered by Deutsche Telekom or 1 & 1, for example. As part of the changeover, it should also be checked whether some administrative files can be managed without a handwritten or digital signature in the future and whether they can be dealt with over the phone.
Pitfalls of the electronic state
Major fears on the part of citizens relate to data protection . There is a fear that people will mutate into transparent people through digital interaction. This results in increased security requirements for the protection of personal data and privacy.