Inter-ministry cooperation, the Digital New Deal, the Green New Deal, the Software New Deal, ubiquitous IT convergence, and total control systems are the new ingredients to be placed in the pot in 2009. The three chefs - the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Korea Communications Commission, and the Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MOPAS) - have been cooking in harmony in anticipation of a great feast in the end. If the Ministry of Knowledge Economy focuses on the IT industries, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security will apply the developed technology to the government system to maximize its efficiency.
Since the code of 2009 is green, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security is expected to be a frontier of the first wave of Green Government. “We will be highly promoting a paperless government, or Green Government, this year to reduce the amount of carbon or energy release. Also, by applying information systems, we will reduce the amount of energy usage from maintenance to treatment with an environmentally-friendly lifecycle,” Director General Chang Kwang-soo of MOPAS said. He continued: “Especially, remote controlled operations and conferences will be vitalized to reduce the cost of transportation fares when a meeting is needed between the ministries. Not only will this reduce expenses, but it will also protect the environment.”
MOPAS is also showing a high interest in digitizing information. Its ultimate goal is to establish an information system in regards to five selected areas that might contribute to citizens' convenience and digitized businesses. “Also, unprecedented inter-ministry cooperation will strengthen the enterprise architecture this year to make one voice to pursue the goal of digitization and efficiency of the workforce,” Chang added.
Korea has ranked at the top of the Digital Opportunity Index survey conducted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) from 2005 to 2007. Korea also ranked 2nd in the UN Global e-Participation Index and 6th in the Global e-Government Readiness Index among 198 countries. The Korea IT Times conducted an interview with Chang Kwang-soo, Director General of the Information Foundation Policy Informatization Strategy Office at the Ministry of Public Administration and Security to find out what is going on inside the systems of e-Government.
INTERVIEWQ: What is the digital government What is that for
A: The digital government was designed to provide e-Services to all the people. In a digital government, the benefit goes to not only the people, but also to the government itself. It provides easier and faster ways for the people to get information, and it makes the government respond swiftly to the needs of the people.
Q: You have established the Converged Digital Center. What is it
A: With that, we can aim at enhancing efficiency inside the government. It can provide administrative help for regional governments such as budget design, spending, and overhaul. For the central government, it gives its people converged services, for example, a one stop service. The center also makes it possible to run e-taxation. The government can keep all information safely and efficiently to serve administrative jobs.
Q: What is Green IT Everybody is talking about it in global seminars and forums.
A: Korea is the 10th largest emitter of carbon dioxide and is the number one country increasing its carbon dioxide emission rate among OECD members. Korea is almost designated as an country that must reduce its emissions to a certain level. Before that day becomes a reality, the government should take initiative to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide. Green IT is one of the solutions to lower pressure from the world. If we can check and measure the amount of emissions, we can meet the objections from the outside. Green IT aims to reduce carbon dioxide in the IT fields. We can build eco-friendly cities and install energy efficient systems inside buildings. Green IT embraces all the efforts to reduce CO2 and to make Korea greener. The government estimates that Green IT can save two trillion won [US$1.44 billion] in cost to deal with CO2 by the end of 2012. It will also reduce 70 million tons of CO2.
Q: Do you think there will be any change in the Obama administration as far as IT is concerned
A: President Obama has emphasized the importance of IT since he was running for the presidency. He also indicated he would put priority on American readiness for the future and education for children. This means a head-on crash with the US in global markets may happen. In order to herald the factors from outside, we designated a CTO, which stands for Chief Technology Officer. The CTO is a person who is given authority to coordinate the conflicts between two or more that take some similar policies. We will also pursue green in autos, energy and workplaces. Competition is getting tough in green industries. We have to prepare to win.
Q: Is there any way to export e- Government
A: Actually we have exported 26 systems to 12 countries so far. The systems include such programs as tariffs, logistics, and property rights. Especially, we exported GIS, a marina logistics program to Vietnam. Our e- Government systems have become the backbone of administrations in other countries. Diplomatically, we will do our best to open markets so that domestic IT companies can broaden their horizons and the markets in which they operate. We will also invite foreign students to look at what is going on in Korea, especially in the e-Government sector.
Q: Can you tell us about Enterprise Architecture
A: As we advanced into e-Government, we found out that some budgets had overlapped and the money had been wasted. We needed to get rid of projects that were overlapping. And we needed to standardize all systems so that they worked as one. This was critical to reduce the consumption of assets for no reason by multiple departments.
Q: Digitalization has caused a lot of negative side effects such as hacking, leaks of personal information, and then uncontrolled spread of pornography are examples. How is MOPAS preparing to handle these effects in the upcoming year
A: Out of many things we are working on to stop the misuse of the Internet, one thing that we are promoting this year is an Internet Personal Identification Number (I-PIN). The IPIN will serve its role as a social security number in cyberspace to protect personal information. As a ministry that generalizes the country's digitalization, MOPAS is preparing well for any possible negative side effect of digitalization with collaboration.