Clinton to agencies: Enhance public service via IT

The Clinton administration today issued two executive memorandums directing that federal agencies use information technology to improve society through better access to services and information.

Vice President Al Gore announced the "E-Government Directive," which instructs agencies to use IT to make government information and services more accessible to the public. Going beyond the services already available on the Internet, this includes speeding the creation of a single online portal for accessing government information; making forms for the top 500 government services available online by December 2000; and making agency heads more directly accountable to citizens via public e-mail addresses.

The second memo, the "E-Society Directive," requires agencies to use IT to help improve the lives and education of American citizens. This directive is focused on more long-term goals, such as using technology to make it easier for parents to evaluate the performance of schools in their communities, and providing more distance-learning opportunities for people balancing work and family issues.

Gore also released "Towards Digital eQuality," the second annual report from the U.S. Government Working Group on Electronic Commerce. The report details the administration's accomplishments during the past year in promoting e-commerce, including supporting stronger legal protection for medical and financial records online and the expected release of more lenient encryption export regulations. The full report is available at www.ecommerce.gov.

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