UN study shows governments are installing the Internet, but public usage is down

07 November 2003, Mexico

According to a United Nations study released earlier this week, about 91 percent of Member States are installing and using Internet services. However, the issue of online government services has raised questions of cost-effectiveness in developed and developing countries. The study, entitled E-Government at the Crossroads, was released at the Fifth Global Forum on Reinventing Government, which took place in Mexico City. The report claims that 'while sweeping vision can propel digital development, a too-grandiose approach may result in failures or expensive white elephants, and despite the Internet’s reputation for economy of operation, new systems can be costly.' The report states that security and privacy issues can discourage potential users of government online services, and that disadvantaged groups lack access to computers. Jose-Antonio Ocampo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, says that 'many governments turn to Internet-based services as a way to cut red tape, or to spread digital infrastructure.' Yet he sees online government as an important tool in the practice of public administration, stating that 'we also see the Internet as a means of advancing and consolidating transparency and democracy.' For further information, CLICK HERE.