A primer for what government should do online

Three economists offer 12 rules of the e-services road.

Activities labeled "green light" are appropriate ones for government

to engage in. Those tagged "yellow light" should be approached with caution.

"Red light" activities should prompt government to stop and look carefully

before proceeding.

Green Light:

* Provide public data and information.

* Improve efficiency of government services.

* Support basic research.

Yellow Light:

* Add specialized value to public data and information.

* Provide services ordinarily provided by the private sector only under

limited circumstances.

* Provide online services only if the private sector would be less efficient.

* Protect consumer privacy and security online.

* Embrace general use of new technologies with great care.

* Retain proprietary information and patent rights only under special

conditions.

Red Light:

* Use extreme caution about entering markets where private-sector firms

are active.

* Generally, do not aim to maximize net revenues or reduce competition.

* Provide goods and services only when adequate privacy and conflict-of-interest

protections exist.

Source: "The Role of Government in a Digital Age"

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