December 2006

e-Information, e-Services and e-Security: Raising hackles

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It is vital to see that citizens must be comfortable with e-Government services and have confidence that their online services are trustworthy and secure while using them. In this networked world, people are feeling greatly concerned about the protection of their assets and privacy. This is particularly because access to the Internet has diversified as never before– from PCs to digital TVs, to mobile phones and wireless devices… The world is determinedly    moving towards smart digital environments that are based on various interacting objects, devices and systems. Today, the Information Society is driven by its key enablers – Trust and Security. The rapid development of online activities by governments worldwide has given momentum to the process of e-Government enabling it to reach its crescendo in recent years. The governments’ dependence on electronic information has invariably increased, and so have the threats from sources such as hackers, viruses and denial of service attacks. The progress made of late, therefore, also inevitably concerns information security. The reason being that network is inherently open, international and seamless, which necessitates higher security requirements. For example, according to Commission of the European Communities, in Europe, businesses, individuals and public administrations still underestimate the risks of insufficiently protecting networks and information. In the IT expenditure, security currently represents only around 5-13%, which is obviously low. The European Commission, in a recent  policy document, has decided to promote greater awareness through an open and inclusive multi-stakeholder dialogue on a new IT Security Strategy for Europe.

Passports and ID cards are also important in the given perspective. These are also bogged down by security concerns. In Japan, the e-JIKEI Network Project specifically focuses on the need to collaborate on the security of local communities because this concerns the most and is of great interest. This is equally important to popularise e-Government among the public. However, not only a top-down approach from a government body would be necessary but also a bottom-up approach from the local community with a specific sense of purpose, is the need ofthe hour. In the article ‘Secure Access: Raising concerns’, the technical details about how users of e-Government systems are identified, controlled and managed using authentication and authorisation systems that provide unique identity and access controls, has been provided.

Hopefully, our readers would benefit from the content in this issue. Last but not least, your feedback would be eagerly awaited.

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