U.S. e-gov projects go global

Six e-government initiatives from across the United States are among the 101 finalists in an international competition designed to promote sharing and transferability of technology around the globe.

Now in its fifth year, the Stockholm Challenge (www.challenge.stockholm.se) is designed to expose and share technology projects and how they could benefit people around the world.

"It's all about give and take. It's all about sharing," said Monica Bernestrom, the program's project manager.

The city of Stockholm, Sweden, created the initiative as a "challenge to all European cities to be the best information technology city in Europe," she said, adding that two years later the program was expanded globally.

This year, it attracted 517 projects from 78 countries. Local and state governments and other groups from the United States entered 71 projects — the most of any country — in the six categories, including e-government, culture, health, education, e-business and environment. Bernestrom said people still look to the United States as an innovator in e-government.

Other countries with multiple entries include Australia, India, Sweden, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria and Spain.

In the e-government category, which last year was called public service and democracy, U.S. finalists include:

* The Seattle Community Technology Program (www.cityofseattle.net/tech) for promoting a level of IT training and citizen access "needed to ensure civic and cultural participation, employment and lifelong learning."

* The Hampton, Va., Customer Delight Initiative (www.hampton.gov) for giving citizens 24-hour access through multiple channels — a Web site and call center — for information and services.

* The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (www.massrmv.com) for improving online services to motorists.

* New York City's Web portal (www.nyc.gov) for giving citizens a single point of contact, which was especially important in the days after Sept. 11.

* League of Women Voters of California for its Smart Voter site (www.smartvoter.org), which provides easily accessible information about candidates.

* Miami-Dade County, Fla., for its City Under the Sea site (kids.miamidade.gov), which offers children ages 8 to 14 information about county government and events.

An international jury of 31 experts judged entries based on innovation, user need, transferability and accessibility. Winners in each category will be announced Oct. 10 in Stockholm and will receive a sculpture, said Bernestrom, who added that she expects about 200 to 300 people from around the world to attend.

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