U.S. Losing E-Gov Race

A report released by the Brookings Institution on electronic government shows just how the U.S. government has begun to lag other countries in the use of the Web to provide information and public services to citizens. The report, “Improving Technology Utilization in Electronic Government around the World, 2008,” ranks the federal government third out of 198 countries, up from fourth last year.

That looks pretty good, with only South Korea and Taiwan beating the United States out for the top two spots. But the author of the report, Darrell M. West, director of governance studies at Brookings, was not impressed. West wrote:

While some countries have embraced digital government broadly defined, the United States is falling behind in broadband access, public sector innovation and in implementing the latest interactive tools to government Web sites. This limits the transformational potential of the Internet and weakens the ability of technology to empower citizens and businesses. Government Web sites must make better use of available technology, and address problems of access and democratic outreach.

The United States ranked 15th among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations, down from fourth place in 2001. The United States also is barely in third place, with four countries â€" Singapore, Canada, Australia and Germany â€" within four points or less of each other.

We’ve blogged here before about the lack of imagination, money and resources to transform federal Web sites into something really useful to citizens, including making government documents easier to search and access. And federal Web sites continue to lag those operated by the private sector.

Hat tip: Federal Computer Week

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