IT can enhance interactions between citizens and their governments in several ways. The use of IT in government, sometimes called “e-government,” can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of government services. E-government can also help achieve other important goals of good governance, such as accountability and transparency.

In democratic societies, information on government activities should be readily available for review by the public. Prior to the emergence of computer databases, the Internet, and other IT innovations, large quantities of government documents were not easily accessible to most citizens. Using these technologies, governments today can provide citizens with fast and free access to a wide variety of documents and records.

Access to official information is critical to ensuring that governments are accountable to citizens—that they are responsive to citizens and that they are doing what they are obligated to do under law. The capacity to track government budget expenditures, for example, enables taxpayers to ensure that governments are trustworthy stewards of the funds entrusted to them.

IT can also provide mechanisms through which governments can interact with citizens. Government websites can provide quick access to information on building regulations, motor vehicle licenses, or immunizations, for example. Information technology can also improve the performance and efficiency of government bureaucracies, and enhance interagency cooperation. In these ways, technology can strengthen the delivery of government services. For example, in India, an e-governance initiative is being implemented to improve citizen access to public services and increase the transparency of government transactions.

To learn more about debates about China’s sensoring of the Internet, please click here to watch the interview with David Vise, author of The Google Story.

To read about Burma’s censoring of the Internet and the Saffron Revolution in Burma, click here.

To read about China’s sensoring the Internet, please read China’s New Internet Regulations.


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