SEOUL, KOREA — The year 2011 was an historic year for the informatization of Korea,” said Dr. Chang Kwang-su Assistant Minister at the Informatization Strategy Office of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MOPAS) when asked about the national informatization project of the organization. ” Korea’s exports of e-government solutions surpassed USD 200 million on the basis of its number one position in the evaluation of e-governments by the UN and winning a public administration prize given by the UN.”
The United Nations Public Administration Programme has announced the launch of its “E-Government Survey 2012: E-Government for the People” on 29 February 2012, and Korea maintains its position in the 1st place since 2010 as achieving the greatest e-government both in development and participation indices.
This assessment conducted by UNDESA rates the e-government performance of countries relative to one another for the 193 member states of the United Nations, and identifies leading countries in e-government development since 2003.
With its continuous endeavor in e-Government, the government also dealt with the smart era systematically by mapping out the Smart e-Government Plan in March 2011 along with the Mid-Long Term Mobile e-Government Plan in August 2011. The Korean government is going to provide a total of 916 mobile e-government services.
In 2010, the government also made much progress in the protection of personal information with the enhancement of the information protection systems and increasing number of personnel so that it could establish the Personal Information Protection Law and 210 personal information protection-related acts. In 2012, a change in the IT paradigm toward the “smart era” will be accelerated, and the importance of co-prosperity with mutual growth will be more emphasized.
“The Ministry of Public Administration and Security is planning to push for four sectors – realizing and globalizing a world-class e-government, constructing a safe Korea on an IT foundation, realizing a fair and balanced information-based society and energizing the economy through mutual co-prosperity,” Dr. Chang continued.
“First, we will develop various mobile services around people in order to realize a world-class e-government and endeavor for globalization by pushing for the exportation of USD 300 million of e-government solutions. Second, we will create “safe Korea” by strengthening the protection of personal information and establishing a personal information protection system in timely manner. Third, we will reinforce support for people in need to realize a kind and fair information-based society and have programs to prevent Internet addiction. Fourth, we will contribute to activating the economy by pushing for mutual growth informatization such as the early informatization of the public sector and the creation of an environment for the win-win growth of small and medium-sized, and large companies.”
The e-government of Korea won first place in the evaluation of e-governments by the UN in 2010 and 2012. Winning the prize in the evaluation of e-governments by the UN enhanced Korea’s exporting e-government solutions. In the first evaluation in 2003, Korea ranked 15th. Ten years later, Korea came in first while cememting its image as a world IT leader. VIPs from countries around the world have praised the e-government of Korea while saying, “Korea has realized another ‘miracle of the Han River’ in the e-government sector.”
But the Korean government is doing everything it can do such as formulating systematic plans in cooperation with related government units while developing and improving services in preparation for the 2012 evaluation. “First, we improved the web site of the Korean government by forming a pan-government at task force team to prepare for the evaluation of e-governments by the UN in January 2011. Ten government units have been participating in the task force team,” Dr. Chang explained. “In addition, we are turning major e-government services into mobile services (917 services by 2015) by mapping out the Smart e-Government Plan launched in March 2011. “Korea achieved excellent results by thoroughly preparing for the evaluation. We will harness these positive results to expand exports of e-government solutions.”
The government is planning to achieve USD 300 million in e-government exports. As the evaluation by the UN proves, exports of the e-government solution of Korea have been on a steady rise. “We are setting this year’s export goal at USD 300 million as importing countries are expanding and exporting sectors are diversifying into customs procurement and integrated centers of the government. The export environment of the e-government of Korea is not all rosy. “E-government projects are very risky and cost much money as multinational IT companies such as IBM and HP have already occupied overseas markets and development costs are high as levels and system of e-government of nations around the world are different,” Dr. Chang added. “In addition, it is also difficult to export e-government as customers are foreign governments.”
To achieve a goal of exporting e-government solutions of USD 300 million, the government is planning to strengthen international cooperation with other countries and government-private sector cooperation internally. “To expand exports of e-governments, we need to promote exchanges and cooperation between governments,” Dr. Chang said. “We will make diversified efforts such as meeting high-ranking foreign officials, giving IT support to foreign countries and signing MOUs on IT cooperation with foreign governments.”
In addition, the Korean government is planning to promote cooperation with the private sector by offering various export information to support Korean companies’ exporting of e-governments and operating a joint market development group. Exportation of e-governments are more meaningful in that they mean not only system exports but also exporting of Korea’s administrative culture and systems, according to Dr. Chang.
The government needs to create an environment where young people work with hopes for the development of the Korean software industry. “We will play a key role in changing the big company-led market into a market where small and medium-sized companies go hand in hand with big companies and establish the trading system fair in the market,” Dr. Chang said.
But some people are concerned about the fact that small and medium-sized companies with inferior technology and insufficient experiences may be engaged in big projects. MOPAS has produced and distributed the “Standard RFP(Request For Proposal)” for the purpose of reinforcing business management capabilities of small and medium-sized companies since December 2011. The government will introduce the PMO(Project management Office) System until the end of this year to support small and medium-sized companies and build a system to select companies in terms of technology.
It has been pointed out that it is necessary to form the technology-oriented public informatization market and to improve procurement systems. “When the government selects a company for an informatization project, the government evaluates technology (80 points) and prices (20 points),” Dr. Chang said. “But sometimes, a company is selected due to its price regardless of technology. So we need to improve the bidding system. The government will change the system to allocate 90 points for technology and 10 points for prices in March. In addition, bidding companies should understand their projects well and prepare the proposals.
It has been five months since the enactment of the Personal Information Protection Law. The Personal Information Protection Law was established in September 2011.
The law applies more strict protection to whole processing to collect, use, process and destroy personal information. People are now able to exercise their rights to utilize their personal information more strongly when they found their personal information wrongfully used or leaked. “We have publicized the law through ads on TV and on the Internet and by visiting small shops such as drugstores, restaurants, real estate agencies and small companies or holding campaigns for them during the publicizing period,” Dr. Chang said. “After the end of the publicizing period, we will intensively check whether or not companies or public organizations violate the law and take measures if necessary. The government will continue to carry out activities to publicize and educate people the law to help all people take good care of personal information.”
Last year, hacking accidents were big issue in the world. Cyber attacks are still expected to continue this year. “Last year, cyber attacks on companies and organizations caused some damage, making people concerned and frustrated,” Dr. Chang said. “The government sector did not suffer any damage by coping with such attacks around the National Computing and Information Agency. “We think that we have more thorough preparations for cyber threats as Korea will host the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, hold a general election and a presidential election this year.”
MOPAS is planning to concentrate on protecting information systems by recognizing cyber threats beforehand and coping with them preemptively. “We will reinforce our capabilities to detect and analyze cyber threats against e-governments by expanding and changing the National Computing and Information Agency (NCIA) with the Korea Internet Security Agency (KISA),” Dr. Chang explained. “We are planning to remove security loopholes even from development stages of government systems by introducing a software development security system in September. Moreover, in order to enable administrative and public organizations to reinforce information protection on their own, we will develop and distribute information protection manuals and expand support for information protection diagnoses and consulting for such organizations.”
The following is series on the Korean e-Government system from June 2011
March, 2012 — Korea’s e-Government Development amazes the World in Winning UN e-Government Survey 2012. An Interview with Dr. Chang Kwang-su, the Assistant Minister MOPAS. (Published)
April, 2012 — Local government office that provides e-government service through a TV in the Kangnam governmental office
May, 2012 — E-Procurement System that manages the whole process of bids & contracts electronically
June, 2012 — Home tax System
July, 2012 — A collection of articles on e-government by IT Times.