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The Technological Foundations of E-Government

Sukumar Ganapati

Book Chapter for:
Electronic Government: Information, Technology, and Transformation
[Foundations of E-Government section]
Edited by Hans J. Scholl
Publisher:
ME Sharpe, Armonk, NY
[Advances in Management Information Systems (AMIS) series]

Author:
Sukumar Ganapati
Assistant Professor
School of Public Administration (PCA 363B)
College of Social Work, Justice, and Public Affairs
Florida International University
Miami, FL 33199
Email: ganapati@fiu.edu
Fax: 305-348-5848

Biographical Sketch
Dr. Sukumar Ganapati is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Administration at Florida
International University. He teaches graduate courses in Information Technology and Egovernment in the school. He has also taught courses in Geographic Information Systems
(GIS). He has undertaken several IT projects at both local and international levels. These
include the Access Indonesia project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

Chapter # (TBD)
The Technological Foundations of E-Government

Sukumar Ganapati

Abstract
This chapter provides an overview of the technological foundations of e-government. IT
practitioners need to be aware of alternative technological choices in their strategic decision
making. The current e-government literature has focused mainly on Web based services.
Besides Web, four additional related areas of interest are identified in this chapter: IP based
services, Sensor based services, Location based services, and Broadband Infrastructure. The
technological principles underlying the five areas and their applications for e-government are
identified.

Keywords: Web services; IP services; RFID; GIS; Broadband Infrastructure

This chapter provides an overview of the technological foundations of e-government. Garson
(2006, p. 19) defines e-government as the “provision of governmental services by electronic
means, usually over the Internet.” Although Internet is indeed at the core of e-government, there
are several related technological areas that are often overlooked in considering e-government
applications. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Information Technology (IT) managers need
to be aware of such technological choices in their strategic decision making. Understanding the
strengths and weaknesses of these emerging technological alternatives is important for
adopting the newer technologies; else, these choices are made on an ad hoc basis.

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Due to its emphasis on Internet use. i. and (iv) Broadband Infrastructure. each is not entirely standalone. and researchers of e-government have to often play catch up in dealing with these technological developments. The fourth section concludes with the problems and prospects of technological developments for e-government. The technology in the above areas is rapidly evolving. The present chapter aims to fill this gap. systems spanning one or more of these areas are at the cutting edge of e-government in the 21st century. The second section reviews the state of the art of technology in e-government. Sections 3 through 7 describe the advancements in the five technological areas mentioned before. logic) capability.g. the interconnections between the systems also bring up the issues of security and interoperability. 2. These are: (i) Internet Protocol (IP) based services. The rest of the chapter is structured as follows. While the five areas hold prospects for e-government. The technology has also evolved significantly since World War II. the literature focusing on these technologies and their implications for e-government applications is thin. (iii) Location based services. Communications technology enabled the networking between computers. THE STATE OF THE ART OF TECHNOLOGY IN E-GOVERNMENT Electronic government or e-government capitalizes on the advances in computer and communications technology since World War II. Since the World War II. the chapter discusses the five areas with a technological view on their prospects and problems for e-government. Computer technology enabled large scale storage (i. However. from copper wire based landline phone systems to 2 .e. the Internet. policymakers. (ii) Sensor based services.e. However. at least four additional related areas of interest for e-government could be identified. the e-government literature has focused on the development of Web based services. Consequently. Yet. memory) and mathematical (e. besides Web based services. Practitioners. Indeed. computers have evolved from room-sized equipments based on vacuum tubes to small sized desktop and laptop machines based on transistors in microprocessor chips. calculations.

Greater affordability of computers and communications technology has been conducive to the growth of egovernment in the public sector and e-commerce in the private sector. However.optical fiber cables and wireless based communication systems. BITNET) institutions. 2002). have become more widely accessible through proliferation of private Internet Service Providers (ISPs). public interactivity. The growth of Internet has contributed to the Web becoming the base for e-government. Networks. Technological advances of computer and communications technology have occurred faster than the changes in the industrial era. is more broadly applied to other features of computer and communications technology too. there is a difference in the scope between the two: while Web-based services are delivered through browsers. between racial. a co-founder of Intel. However. The combination of computer and communications technology has enhanced the ability to disseminate information in real time. 2007). Indeed. Sensor based services. which were for elite use in defense (i. gender. and Broadband Infrastructure. to increase efficiency of routine chores. and income groups). Location based services. predicted as early as 1965 that the number of transistors on a microprocessor chip will double approximately every two years at inexpensive rates. there are at least four additional related areas of technology that have impacted e-government processes. the IP 3 .e. electronic transactions. and to collaborate between different actors.” Unlike the industrial era changes. the technological evolution has not been at the cost of affordability. These areas include: Internet Protocol (IP) based services. Web based services have attracted much attention in the e-government literature. and even organizational transformation. According to Pew Internet Research (Horrigan. IP based services are similar to Web-based services in being dependent on the computer and communications technology infrastructure.e. The Web has facilitated information dissemination. the divide has been narrowing on several aspects (e. as the prophecy has come to be known. 71 percent of American adults use Internet from some location. ARPANET) and research (i. Although some forms of digital divide persist (Servon.g. Alvin Toffler (1970) referred to the too much change in too short a period of time from industrial to the super-industrial society as “future shock. Moore’s Law. Gordon Moore. however.

or they could run under proprietary systems that are incompatible with other systems. When combined with GPS. and supply chain management. RFID and wireless devices (e. RFID devices. for voice communications. IP based services. such as GIS and GPS. The interconnectivity between the systems also brings up problematic issues. can gauge the traffic ahead based on his/ her location. These devices can also be connected using the Internet to relay the information over the Web. The infrastructure is critical for augmenting e-government services.g. if not properly managed.based services are broader (e.g. the technological standards between the systems could differ. for example. Broadband infrastructure does not refer to services per se. In the following sections. are open to the same security threats as the Web based services. 4 . video conferencing. cellphones) become powerful tools for location on the field. the technological foundations of the five areas are considered first. Web and IP based services can be easily integrated. Moreover. Services based on such sensor devices are used for identification. Indeed. for the devices to communicate with each other. The above five areas are not entirely stand-alone. A driver with a GPS device in the car. such as security and interoperability. these services are significant for e-government since they describe the spatial characteristics. This brings up the issue of interoperability between the systems. and then their prospects and problems for e-government are explored. Location based services are explicitly oriented towards geographical mapping and location of persons or objects. Transportation agencies use such interconnectivity between systems for traffic management.). the interconnectivity between the systems is at the cutting edge of e-government. but the backbone that supports egovernment services. including real time traffic alerts. Web services also incorporate the location based services. Sensor devices like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags can identify objects uniquely and can be read automatically from a remote location. for example. are vulnerable to security threats. inventory tracking. etc.

Web portals. The email systems allow private transmission of messages and documents between computers over the Internet. Web 1. which is a publicly accessible repository of information (e. The systems have since evolved into complex ones.0 was related to basic information dissemination through static Web pages (e.0 technologies in the 21st century are distinctive from the Web 1.g. 5 . using Hyper Text Markup Language. and a client computer.0 era. for example. XML facilitates the sharing of structured data and allows for serving dynamic content over the Web. databases). which overlay information from multiple Web sources into one Web service using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). The current Web 2.g. This generation of Web served customary information published and owned by the producers with hyperlinks to other Web pages of related interest. content. documents.g. At its very basic. reads) the information in the server.0 technologies: (i) they treat the Web as a platform rather than as a base for singular applications (e. In the Web 2. WEB BASED SERVICES The Internet technology has enabled the growth of Web based systems for information dissemination and email systems for communication between people since the early 1990s.g. where client machines are used to act as servers for deploying information). mashups. peer to peer networking such as Napster and KaZaA.g. HTML) and basic database manipulation for dynamic Web pages (e. the Web based system consists of a server computer.3.e.0 applications of the 1990s. the usage of Extensible Markup Language (XML) is more prevalent than HTML. O’Reilly (2005) outlined several characteristics of currently evolving Web 2. if one server went down. which accesses (i. to balance load between servers during times of excessive demands).g. another will serve the same information) or speed (e. using Structured Query Language. make use of multiple servers to serve Web pages. SQL). content and applications could be distributed across the servers and mirror one server’s content on another for contingency (e.

which includes interactive features between government decision-makers and citizens (e.g. contracting. interactive dialog boxes). Web transactions such as renewal of driving license. Government agencies have made remarkable strides in the usage of Web services. (iv) their softwares are not end products—they are services that are continually developed. where public organizations are themselves transformed from hierarchical. and social networking sites). rather than using proprietary programs. through emails. (iii) Web transaction. (iii) data ownership is a key element. Social networking sites like MySpace are used by political candidates for outreach to the younger constituency for votes. Federal sites such as regulations. etc.(ii) they harness collective intelligence (e. payment are processed through the Web.g. stovepipe model to horizontal. could be done online. checking on the status of an application. According to West (2007). There are four stages of Web based services in e-government: (i) Web presence. 86 percent of federal and state websites have fully executable online services. payment of fines. In terms of Web transformation. through blogs.gov allow for public participation in the federal rulemaking process by enabling citizens to view and comment on regulations and other actions for federal agencies. The literature on the prospects and problems of Web-based services for e-government is rich. podcasts. Although information dissemination is at the core of the Web services. and (iv) Web transformation. interactivity is also increasingly being used. in which various government transactions such as procurement. (vi) their software can be used across devices. wikis. in which governments deploy basic information about themselves on the Web. (v) they use lightweight programs that build on existing Web platforms. Email has displaced traditional snail mail to become a dominant mode of contacting senators and other policymakers. collaborative model. spillover activities that span several departments are centralized through the Web using cross agency 6 . (ii) Web interaction.

public participation. podcasts and RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds are available from most federal websites. 2005). government to government (G2G) services. usajobs.portals. etc. to meet reporting requirements. which provides an alternative source to mainstream media reporting on American foreign policy). U.gov. A few government sponsored blogs have also emerged (e. Web services could be classified into four categories: government to citizen (G2C) services. and visitors.g. Blogs have increasingly gained significance in American politics. and intragovernmental services (IG). and campaign communication (Lawson-Borders and Kirk.gov. websites are typically arranged for four audience categories: citizens. There is also a convergence of government websites to be arranged according to the audience needs. A few government agencies—especially at the federal level—have adapted to the Web 2. employees. In this. government to business (G2B) services.0 is the proprietary ownership of large amounts of data that is collected by different agencies from individual citizens and businesses on a mandatory basis.) which could be carried out through the Web. Such sites eschew the traditional stovepipe models of government agencies and transform them into horizontal networks.g. IG services are back office employee oriented and internal management services specific to the agency.S. birth certificates. rather than face to face interactions with the bureaucracy.0 environment. businesses. For example. They have become powerful tools for political activism. rather than specific department functions. The first government portal. G2C services focus on citizen demanded government services (e. usa. driving licenses. local taxes) that can be carried out over the Web. which is a central repository for federal grants and for streamlining grants management.gov. G2G services act between different levels of government for intergovernmental transactions. and for performance measurement. The data enables governments to create profiles 7 . Department of State’s Dipnote. combined the services from different departments under one portal. The podcasts provide department specific videos and RSS feeds provide latest announcements or policy developments (similar to latest news).g. which is dedicated to federal jobs. G2B services focus on business oriented government services (e. business licenses. A potent aspect of e-government in terms of Web 2. Other examples include: grants.

and attacks by spy worms and viruses. spam) is also a standing problem. However. IP BASED SERVICES Similar to Web based services. Indeed. data from the sending device is broken down into small packets and transmitted over the Internet using the best available route. Such services include the Voice over 8 . the packets are then reassembled at the receiver’s device. and other security breaches. Fundamentally. public sector email communications are generally not private. which do not use dedicated circuits. TCP/ IP systems use packet switching. snooping. Various IP based services have emerged as a result besides the Web based services. hence. TCP/ IP represents a significant advancement over traditional phone networks. Consequently. The network can balance the transmission load across various pieces of equipment. and enhanced consumer choice. The circuit is not available to other users until it is released. which uses a dedicated circuit (or channel) between nodes and terminals for communication. and if a problem occurs with an equipment. 2004). ranging from improving service to analyzing and detecting terrorism activities (GAO.of different entities through data mining techniques. private emails could become available to the public domain. unwanted emails (i. Traditional phones use circuit switching. the data could be re-routed over another equipment in the network. sensitive government data could be compromised. the most widely used standard for networking between computers. Moreover. Although email has become a staple for communications. Packet switching has lowered the cost of communications. phishing emails mislead citizens and government officials alike. expanded network resiliency. TCP/IP thus represents a more efficient use of network bandwidth.e. The use of Web-based services is prone to hacking. these services rest on the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/ IP) standard. IP based services draw on the Internet technology. 4. Rather. data mining has emerged as a key concern of federal government agencies for different purposes. enabled new services and features.

the traditional phones require a VoIP adapter. and so on. The increase in popularity is due to cost and other advantages. Mitel. 311. Nortel. phone. 9 . cable. or traditional phones. For residential consumers. the special VoIP phones plug into the broadband connection directly.e. Social Security Agency have adopted VoIP to provide a unified and comprehensive range of services.5 million in mid-2006 to 11. provide both voice and video connections using peer to peer networking. like DSL. require broadband (i. 511. VoIP’s voice services work over the computer. the number of VoIP subscribers increased from 6. email and voice mail queues could be merged to make either type of message retrievable by phone or computer. notable among them being Alcatel. which has become a popular alternative to traditional phone systems. Federal agencies such as the Department of Defense. While using the computer. which is used by residential customers and businesses.8 million in mid-2007. VoIP represents a convergence of data. Several vendors of VoIP have emerged for enterprise wide solutions. high bandwidth.Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). Skype. VoIP also has other advantages. For enterprises. According to Telegeography (2007). and cable companies. such as sophisticated messaging and conferencing applications and simplified management. 911 systems) that have to field many phone inquiries could find it expedient to implement VoIP. however. Cisco. counties. government agencies with call centers (e. and video (Triple Play) using the same broadband network. People with Skype accounts can call each other for free regardless of their location.g. and cities have also jumped into the bandwagon of VoIP technology. deploying VoIP is estimated to be onethird the cost of traditional phone systems. Consequently. In particular. one requires a microphone and software to process the voice. Email and phone conversations are thus transmitted on the same network. These services. they pay a fee when calling a phone. Siemens. Several states. voice. a special VoIP phone. VoIP services for residential and business use are also provided by ISPs. VoIP rates are generally lower than traditional phones. Department of Commerce. or T1) rather than dial-up connections to perform efficiently. Avaya. The most significant among IP based services is the VoIP. operating costs could be 50-60 percent less.

5). following incidents like the September 11. packet loss. Skype. VoIP is vulnerable to the same security problems as other systems that depend on the Internet (e. 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina. the VoIP services also need to be protected with software and hardware devices (e. 2005. who then 10 . and Denial of Service (DoS). “Because of the integration of voice and data in a single network. similar to data networks. However. establishing a secure VOIP and data network is a complex process that requires greater effort than that required for dataonly networks” (Kuhn et al. The content is constantly delivered by the provider to each customer. Hence.g. The implementation of VoIP. In addition. the implementation of security measures could deteriorate the VoIP’s QoS. VoIP norms are uniform nationwide. users have to tune in to channels. where time-lag between packets of voice transmitted between source and destination could result in lower Quality of Service (QoS) than that in data transmission. IPTV also uses the IP network. firewalls. antivirus protection. VoIP is time-critical. the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) observed. In the traditional TV. which allows law enforcement officials to wiretap digital telephone networks. VoIP falls directly under the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) jurisdiction. but delivers television and video services. particularly those that allow users to make calls to and receive calls from the regular telephone network. particularly due to low bandwidth). Similar to VoIP. hence. for example. worms. cannot be used to call 911. IPTV is unlike traditional TV and Cable.Indeed. there have been calls for an IP-based nationwide 911 system. jitter (non-uniform packet delays. which can compromise servers). including latency (greater time taken for a voice transmission from the source to destination). The FCC imposed 911 obligations on providers of VoIP services. however. and intrusion detection systems). Being IP based. p. At the same time. when emergency communications between first responders failed.g. is not without its problems. Unlike traditional telephone systems that fall under state regulation. Another major issue is that not all VoIP services connect directly to 911 emergency services. the FCC requires interconnected VoIP providers to comply with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (CALEA). Reviewing the security considerations of VoIP.

IPTV is used for both live TV and Video On Demand (VOD). 2006). rather than a requiring more costly optical fiber 11 . and Multimedia Research Group (New Millennium Research Council. corporate communications) use multicasting. where people upload videos and are accessible to the general public. Live TV (including synchorous communications like web-conferences. In combination with VoIP. IPTV has become a staple medium for viewing games. In 2006. IPTV is not solely Web based and often requires additional software and hardware (e. it allows downloading of photos or music from personal computers. In 2005. two-way IPTV broadcast to 16. In live TV. which is a bandwidth-conserving technology to reduce traffic by simultaneously delivering a single stream of information to many recipients.S. This selective delivery frees up bandwidth. the size of data is not known a priori and could be infinite. ITV consists mainly of Web-based video streaming. Major League Baseball has been offering streaming video since 2002. However. according to various industry analysts such as Infonetics. the Earth Day Network and Communications Technology (ComTek) partnered to offer a live. the 2006 FIFA World Championship was also viewed using IPTV throughout the world. the IEEE Spectrum magazine predicted IPTV to be a technology winner since it can use relatively lowspeed broadband through telephone wires. Verimatrix are some of the leading IPTV vendors (Multimedia Research Group. the consumer base of IPTV is projected to grow exponentially. For example. Youtube is a prime example of ITV. 2007).selects the content to watch. distance learning. or downloading the content for later viewing. IPTV provides picture-in-picture functionality for channel surfing without leaving an existing program. email questions to environmental experts and religious leaders. in VOD. only the content selected by the consumer is delivered. the video is a pre-recorded finite file. set-top box) for high quality video. and have two-way communications through VoIP.g. Seachange. Insight Research Corporation. Motorola. Tut. VOD uses streaming of content for real time viewing. Students could view the broadcast through a Web. In an IP network. IPTV is related to Internet TV (ITV) since both are Internet based. thus allowing for significantly more content and functionality.000 high school and college classrooms in the U.

First responder solutions could be distributed community wide through video and interactive communications for public safety in emergency situations. Although the technology of using radio frequencies is not new. 5. Other common sensors include cameras. scanners. Public sector enterprises that depend on legacy copper network for telephones could thus use IPTV with little loss of QoS. IPTV could be used for telemedicine. pressure. Hence. lasers. IPTV has much potential for government applications. or motion). etc. radar systems. Webcasts) could be held using IPTV. The number of RFID devices doubled to 1. Among these. 2007. The scope of political debates could be also enhanced through the interactive capabilities. 12 . Special interest virtual conferences (e. RFID has grown by leaps and bounds since then. and issue security alerts in case of an unauthorized intrusion. Webinars). magnetism.2 billion units between 2005 and 2006. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems have gained significance for e-government. Lastly. and data could be used for distance learning and off-site training sessions (e. wherein doctors can monitor and treat patients interactively from remote locations. SENSOR BASED SERVICES Sensors are devices that respond to an environmental stimulus (such as heat.upgrade (Alfonsi. 2007). was used to field questions for Democratic Presidential candidates in the debate held in Charleston in July. thermal devices. this section focuses mainly on RFID devices. motion detectors are sensors that respond to any movement in the area of their coverage. RFIDs gained popularity in commercial and government applications only in the late 1990s. sound. seismographs.g. For example. IPTV could be used as interactive channels for community broadcasting of municipal meetings. 2005). voice.g. for example. and hold much potential for future use. Youtube. they are expected to reach 700 billion units by 2015 (Bevan. light. Interactive video.

Hitachi’s mu chip). but are activated based on a sensor that automatically responds to an environmental stimulus such as 13 . so that they can be read at greater distances). It could be packaged in smart cards (e. RFID tags do not require line of sight for reading them. read-write (i. data cannot be changed). Unlike bar codes. and their information can be overwritten and updated (Wyld. they can be read only one at a time. The tags could be as small as grain of rice (e.g. The RFID tag typically contains a unique identification code that can be attached to objects and living beings. identification cards serving multiple purposes. The tags could also be passive (which have no power source.). and so on.g. The chip’s memory could be read-only (i. and are activated when they are in the vicinity of a reader at short distance). which use the Electronic Product Code (EPC). can be used to uniquely identify objects. credit cards that can be scanned instead of swiping.). The chip is linked to an antenna. etc. active (which have a power source and emit radio waves continuously. Since RFID tags are read by radio waves. packages. they are more durable. They require line of sight for reading them. which is a small coil of wires. 12). cannot uniquely identify objects—they identify a class of objects. their information cannot be updated. The code can be read by the reader using radio waves. RFID consists mainly of tags and readers. An RFID tag has an integrated circuit (IC) chip. which use the Universal Product Code (UPC). glass cases (for implantation in animals and human beings). 2005. RFID tags. From a technological perspective. they cannot be read if they are dirty or damaged. A middleware is used to process the data from the tag.RFID is an automatic identification technology using tags and readers to capture data about objects. The tag could be packaged in different forms and sizes. etc. and semi-passive (which have a battery. they do not need to be swiped like magnetic stripe cards.e. The RFID tag represents a revolutionary change over the traditional bar codes that are used to identify objects in retail stores. disks (which can be attached to an object with a screw). p. depending on the function. smart labels (that can be attached to books. data can be changed). or a combination of both. they can be batch processed since many tags can be read instantaneously. which contains the unique EPC data.e. Bar codes.

ultra-high frequency (400–1. The range of the reader depends on the size and efficiency of the antenna. semi-passive tags are used to monitor environment (e. The radio frequency of the transceiver gives the intensity of the radio waves for transmitting information—higher the frequency.553–13.45 GHz) are used for higher distances (Wyld. and the power of transceiver. The principal goal of the supply chain management system is to reduce inventory (i. movement. sense earthquake tremors. shelf life). so that goods need to be moved down the chain in an efficient manner. Passive tags are typically used where they need to be read at very short distance (e.g. active tags are used when they need to be read at longer distances (e. it passes that information to the decoder. p. Low frequency (125–134 KHz) readers are used upto 18 inches.g. 2005. RFIDs enable greater visibility in the supply chain management since the inventory of any particular node in the chain could be centrally read and managed. and microwave frequencies (2. The RFID transceiver sends out radio waves either on demand (in case of small hand-held devices) or continuously (in the case of a fixed reader). The Wal-Mart could centrally monitor the inventory of the 14 . The RFID readers can be small hand-held devices that are portable or can be large and fixed. If an RFID tag is in the transceiver’s active range. A reader comprises of an antenna.g. e-passport. looking up or adding to a computer database).000 MHz) are used for 10 to 30 feet. and a decoder. Typically. Wal-Mart was among the early adopters of RFID in requiring its suppliers to provide RFID-tagged pallets and cases to the distribution centers. 20). RFIDs have gained much popularity in the private and public sector for supply chain management. the tag’s unique code is read by the reader. transceiver. changes in temperature in a remote location). credit cards). when a reader receives a tag’s signal. There could be one or more antenna. depending on the desired read range.g. high frequency (13. which is the tracking of materials and products from a supplier to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer. the more powerful is the reader. electronic toll collection).e.567 MHz) are used for 3 to10 feet.temperature. which then forwards the unique code for processing to the back-end system (e. or vibration).

2005).35 billion annually (Wyld. the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Electronic toll collection is a prime example at the state and local levels. wherein tagged items are scanned at checkout for inventory management. the Department of Agriculture (USDA). with many domestic and overseas locations. A few state and local governments have also adopted RFID for inventory management. The concern is more acute when RFIDs are used to track human movements or are implanted in human beings.stores. Such fears have precluded people from installing transponders in the car. hands-off processing of materiel transactions. and the Social Security Agency (SSA). The consequent efficiencies with RFID implementation were expected to save Wal-Mart upto $8. SSA has been using RFID since 2003 for its internal office supply store. Overhead readers in the booth automatically read RFID transponders in the vehicle. DoD has phased in RFID tagging of pallets by DoD manufacturers and suppliers of shipments. RFID is used for logistic support through fully automated visibility and management of assets. and to streamline business processes. the notable ones being the Department of Defense (DoD). Several federal agencies have also undertaken RFID initiatives.g. RFID ear tags or implanted devices are used in the NAIS for identifying large animals like cattle. A consumer group called Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) has been at the forefront raising awareness about the downside of implanting RFID chips by corporations and 15 . USDA’s National Animal Identification System (NAIS) envisages the management and tracking of individual animals in order to trace and control animal diseases. VeriChip) to monitor patient’s health (especially for senior citizens). DoD has a complex supply chain management. The principal concern with government’s use of RFID is privacy—that the big brother is watching every move. FDA has required pharmaceutical companies to use RFID to have better control over the prescription drug supply chain. and the appropriate amount is deducted from the transponder’s account. wherein drivers do not have to stop and pay tolls at the toll booth. Hospitals use implanted RFID chips (e. Since 2005. The use of RFID is not without controversy. and replenish goods in a timely way based on the demand of the goods in the store.

and point objects or living beings (e. law enforcement. These guidelines include: implementation of firewalls to separate RFID databases from other databases in the organization. and increase government surveillance (Albrecht and McIntyre.government. real property services. linear elements (e. shielding RFID tags and tag reading areas to prevent unauthorized access. The report set guidelines for security and privacy. LOCATION BASED SERVICES Broadly. et al. Although maps have been in existence for centuries. people). buildings. privacy risk. a location based service is a graphical map which represents geographical boundaries (e. location based services relate to spatial descriptions of persons or objects. and time stamping to help in detecting security breaches. disaster management. Security is also a major concern since RFID tags can be read by readers for illegitimate purposes. including natural resource management. 6. There are two major components of location based technologies in this respect: 16 . implementation of procedures for auditing. The National Institute of Science and Technology highlighted four types of major risks with RFIDs: business process risks. land management. and disposal of tags and recycling procedures to permanently disable or destroy sensitive data. physical. logging. the evolution of computers and communication systems have revolutionized the location based systems to enable spatial descriptions in real time (e. and externality risk (Karygiannis. The founders of the movement call RFID as “spy chips” since they can invade one’s privacy. business intelligence risk. health management.g. At its very basic.g. spatial movements). allow snooping by others. Thus credit cards and e-passports could be compromised with appropriate readers that could eavesdrop and make unauthorized use. authentication of approved users of RFID systems. political. streets). river. The location based services have benefited government processes in several areas. These services assist in determining precise geographical locations and describe the spatial attributes of a jurisdiction. and planning and economic development.g. usage of encrypted radio signals. 2005).g. 2007). climatic).

Traditional desk top based GIS has since evolved into Web-based GIS.). 7-8). GIS combines the three data to provide a graphical representation of geographical features. GIS comprises of three data components: spatial. GPS is oriented toward locating an object or living being in the geographical space. zip codes. etc. population of a jurisdiction). analyze and present information that is tied to a spatial location. storing. software. It helps manipulate. and raster. so that spatial information is deployed over the Internet. p. and points) of geographic features (e. states. GIS enables building “what-if” scenarios with alternative data projections and can be useful for simulation. GIS technology has been refined quite significantly since the 1980s. Several attribute layers are combined to give a composite depiction of the feature.g. Spatial data represent locations and shapes (i.the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the Geographical Positioning Systems (GPS).g. The power of GIS for e-government is in the ease of condensing vast amounts of attribute data from various sources into graphic visuals in order to display spatial relationships.g. boundaries of census tracts.e. GIS and GPS are two distinctive technologies—while GIS is oriented toward mapping a geographical space. analyzing. attribute. people. From a technological perspective. Raster data consist of images (e. and disseminating information about areas of the earth” (Dueker and Kjerne. counties.g. aerial photographs). location of hospitals within a given distance from an accident location) interactively. organizations and institutional arrangements for collecting. Fundamentally. 1989. It combines the 17 . topographical analysis of a site to achieve optimum drainage configuration. polygons. Moreover. forecast of hurricane paths) and queried (e. Web-GIS is more dynamic than a static map display. Graphic visuals like thematic maps of population distribution can be manipulated on the fly to make complex data projections understandable to both the lay people as well as experts (pictures speak a thousand words). lines. Attribute data (qualitative or quantitative) provide the spatial characteristics that describe a geographical feature (e.g. Lastly. Unlike static maps. Web-GIS allows for pan and zoom to obtain maps based on user defined parameters. the GIS data can be analyzed (e. GIS is commonly understood as “a system of hardware. data.

economic data). transportation planning. For example. where users can fly over terrains virtually. disease transmission.com. has become common for two dimensional route mapping. Google Earth enables three-dimensional GIS. and academic institutions. sharing. attribute. environmental monitoring. DoD uses GIS in the millitary for intelligence gathering.htm). like traffic alerting systems (e. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) uses GIS to better portray geographic relationships that affect public health outcomes and risks. many states also have geospatial data clearinghouses (Goodchild et al. and raster data. 2007). Many city and county governments 18 . and municipal governments to deploying Webbased spatial information. U. for example. and dissemination of geospatial data on a national basis. The uses include: land management. GIS has gained popularity across federal. and promoting citizen participation. terrain analysis. use.gov purports to be a one-stop site for federal. The bureau has also emerged as the principal resource for attribute data (population.g.S. mission planning. Government organizations have also emerged as important sources of spatial. State and local governments have increasingly adopted GIS for a wide variety of purposes. Geodata.three data components (which could be distributed across servers) with search and query interfaces to provide maps and reports interactively. sigalert. state. and facilities management. Mapquest. The federal government has facilitated the use of GIS by developing geospatial standards and by providing spatial and attribute data. state. housing. Web-GIS is a powerful tool for real time mapping applications. FGDC develops the geospatial data standards in cooperation with other public. without having to go through steep learning curves or expensive GIS software.cdc. infrastructure services. Thus. the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) was established in 1990 as an inter-agency committee to promote the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) for the coordinated development.gov/nchs/gis. With mashups. lay users with an Internet connection can also access GIS. access to health care. Census Bureau had originally developed the Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing system (TIGER) for spatial data.com). and so on (http://www. and local spatial data. private. parks and recreation.

longitude.make the public domain property data (e. According to Kaylor (2005). the DoD has regulated its civilian use. the control segment.000 miles above the earth and make about two orbits in a 24 hour cycle. For example. ephemeris data (location of the satellite. The federal government disabled SA 19 . and the user segment. ownerhship) available through Web-GIS. transactions.S. Since the original scope of the US GPS program was for military purposes. Department of Defense (DoD) for military applications initially. so that the errors can confound accuracy of long range missiles. The receiver essentially determines its location (latitude.g. over 60 percent of the municipal websites surveyed in the Municipal e-Government Assessment Project (MeGAP) had “data rich. sent continuously). current date and time. The control segment comprises the master control (located in Colorado) and a network of five ground stations located around the world. The ground controls monitor the paths of the satellites and update the ephemeris and almanac data. The distance from a satellite is calculated using the ephemeris data. but have been made available for civilian use since the 1980s. The space segment comprises of the satellites that were placed in orbit by U.” In contrast to GIS’s mapping function. DoD used the Selective Availability (SA) feature of the GPS to introduce random errors of several hundred feet into the civilian systems. sent periodically) and almanac data (the status of satellite. A constellation of 24 satellites (called NAVSTAR) orbit at about 12. GPS is used to determine location in geographical space using satellites. altitude) by calculating its distance from satellites. The GPS unit requires at least three satellites in view to locate its position in two dimensions and at least four satellites to locate in three dimensions (locating a point in three dimensional space requires at least four distances from other known locations). The GPS unit consists of a receiver and an antenna capable of reading the signals emitted by the satellites. GPS consists of three segments: the space segment. property taxes. with differential error adjustments based on the pseudorandom code and the ephemeris data. These GPS satellites emit two radio signals consisting of three bits of information: the pseudorandom code (an identification code of satellite). highly interactive GIS features.

airplanes. Tourism oriented data (e. precise location of alerts. The Galileo is expected to comprise of five navigation service groups available worldwide: open service (available freely for mass market applications with reduced accuracy). and available during crisis periods. the DoD could restrict the GPS use in case of a national emergency. and cars. and search and rescue service (for quick reception of distress messages from anywhere on earth. commercial service (encrypted fee based services with high accuracy).g. which is expected to be operational by 2008. including police. Saudi Arabia have also joined the program. India. location of restaurants. in case of a 911 call of a crime event. safety of life service (available for safety critical transport applications. The most common use of GPS is in navigation systems. GPS is increasingly used for land surveys since they yield more accurate results than traditional theodolite methods. Several non-European countries. coastguards and customs officials). seismographers use GPS for studying tectonic motions in earthquake studies. Yet. with the same accuracy as open service. Metreologists use GPS is for weather forecasting. recreational facilities) can also be accessed through the integrated GIS/ GPS services. will comprise of a constellation of 30 satellites. return link to reduce false alerts). For example. The system. 20 . In a direct challenge to the US GPS monopoly. Local governments use the technology for dispatching first responder vehicles. including China. the dispatcher can identify and dispatch the police vehicle nearest to the event. public regulated service (robust signals protected against jamming and spoofing. the European Union and the European Space Agency began to develop Galileo as a global satellite navigation system (GNSS) for civilian purposes. Galileo is also expected to be interoperable with the US GPS system.features in 2000 and discontinued the procurement of satellites with SA capabilities in 2007. but implemented on frequency bands reserved for Aeronatuical Radio-Navigation services). for government authorized applications. objects can be located in real time on a map using GPS. such as ships in the ocean. Combined with GIS.

the demand for broadband infrastructure has escalated. advances in computers as well as communications technologies enabled the growth in e-government services. Technology policymakers in the state and local governments need to be aware of the evolving technologies to make judicious infrastructure choices. governments typically have a stake in developing the infrastructure. BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE As identified in Section 2. which are private goods. Studies show that the communications infrastructure investments are significant for economic growth and development. Wireless infrastructure includes Wi-Fi hotspots. The telephone lines (e. which are typically faster than the 56. Fiber to the Home (FTTH). Ultra Wide Band. Examples of wired broadband include Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). Unlike computers. With the increase in demand of high bandwidth due to IP based services. telephone. According to the Pew Internet’s 2007 survey. 21 . up 5 percent from 2006 (Horrigan. optical fiber. Hence. Broadband refers to the high speed Internet communications. 47 percent of adults have broadband at home.g. copper wires) form the basic infrastructure component for communications. the availability of more advanced broadband infrastructure is uneven and yet to catch up. Cable. and Mesh networks.g. Wired connections have better QoS. 2007). but are less flexible due to the requirement of physical connectivity. The evolving broadband communications infrastructure includes both wired and wireless technologies. While there is extensive coverage of basic infrastructure of telephone lines and power lines (overhead or underground) across the country. and Broadband over Powerline (BPL).7. or coaxial). wireless infrastructure is based on radio wave signals that do not require a physical cable connection. the communications infrastructure is a public good. hence. The catch up game is an interminable one since the broadband technology is also evolving quickly. Wired infrastructure is based on a cable connection (e. but dial-up computer modems are not sufficient in the rapidly evolving world of broadband requirements. The choice between a wired and wireless infrastructure is a paradoxical one for many local governments.6 kilobytes per second (kbps) offered by dial-up modems (FCC defined the first generation threshold of broadband as 200 kbps).

the final leg of connectivity to a customer from a hub). and filters need to be added at the user end to separate voice and data. Signal degradation and interference is less in optical fibers than 22 . hybrid systems have also evolved. but could have less QoS and be more prone to dropped calls and security lapses. Solutions for “last mile” problems (i. Wired infrastructure requires only marginal investments in urban areas where the infrastructure may already have been installed. Theoretically. which provides several advantages.e. Unlike DSL and Cable. the choices are not mutually exclusive among the various wired and wireless systems. the actual speeds are lower and reduce with additional users on the network at the same time. modems. According to FCC (2007). Although DSL and Cable speeds represent significant improvement for data transfer. Of course. Routers. additional infrastructure investments are usually minimal. for example. The additional capacity in the existing copper network is due to packet switching. DSL and Cable are both widely available for urban consumers at more affordable rates than other systems. DSL and Cable prevail the broadband Internet penetration—in 2006. Wired Broadband DSL and Cable broadband build on existing copper wire connections of telephone and cable TV respectively. Wireless connections are flexible. communications in optical fiber networks is through light signals.extensive infrastructure has to be laid to enable such connections. DSL constituted 50 percent of home broadband connections and Cable constituted 41 percent. wireless infrastructure may be more advantageous in rural areas where it is expensive to lay the wired infrastructure. Since this infrastructure already exists in most urban areas. the QoS may deteriorate for voice and multimedia services. however. the number of DSL and Cable lines increased exponentially from 4 million in June 2000 to nearly 53 million in June 2006. which frees up space for routing more communications. could be based on such hybrid systems. DSL and Cable could offer speeds upto 10 and 30 megabytes per second (mbps) respectively. The communications are based on transmission of electrical signals over the copper network.

DSL. allowing more lines in the same diameter cable. Cable. BPL takes advantage of the unused transmission capability of the power lines for communications. Access BPL equipment consists of injectors. which can provide broadband speeds between 500 kbps and 3 mbps. According to the FTTH Council (2006).copper. Broadband over Powerline (BPL) provides yet another prospect for wired broadband access through the existing infrastructure network of electric power lines. Access BPL systems are the outdoor network of devices that use electrical power lines for transmitting broadband data to. it is also called Power Line Communication (PLC). and for connecting end-user devices to the access BPL network. For. which delivers to a platform and the last mile could be served by other modes (e.7 million in June 2006 (FCC. without disrupting the power output. BPL is an emerging technology. the copper wire networks are more extensive and the initial costs of laying copper cables are lower. from. Extractors provide the interface between the power line 23 .4 million to about 0. Repeaters are required at periodic distances on long power lines to keep the signals from attenuating or distorting.g. power lines use a limited range of frequencies. 1-1): Access and In-house. When transmitting electricity. In-house BPL systems are the indoor wiring and power outlets for networking within a building. FCC identifies two components of BPL systems (NTIA. and within the geographic area. FTTH served 936 communities in 47 states by April. Two types of network connectivity are based on the optical fibers: Fiber to the Home (FTTH). Hence. Installing optical fiber cables provide cost savings over the long run due to the higher reliability and lower maintenance. The number of optical fiber based lines increased from nearly 0. and Fiber to the Curb (FTTC). Moreover. p. Optical fiber cables are thinner than copper. 2006. and extractors. optical fibers provide broadband speed upto 10 gigabyte per second (gbps) (the T-carrier lines and Optical Carrier lines). couplers) interface between high speed optical fiber or other high speed broadband and the power lines (overhead or underground). 2004. A basic BPL network is illustrated in Figure 1. repeaters. 2007). Yet. or wireless systems). BPL injectors (also. which delivers communication to the end user. optical fiber cables have not become as popular as DSL and Cable.

According to the United Power Line Council (UPLC.S. 24 . [Insert Figure 1 around here] Wireless Broadband Unlike the wired communications infrastructure described above. has lagged behind Europe due to its peculiarity of power lines: unlike Europe. apartment complexes) where there are scale efficiencies in using the power lines for providing Internet to several households.000 in 2006. Satellite and other wireless based lines increased from over 0. The user could then connect a device (e.000 homes) and Manassas (catering to over 700 households). BPL implementation in the U. wireless infrastructure does not require physical cables for making broadband connections.000 in 2005 to a little over 5. While European distribution transformers feed several homes (100 to 200). US utilities typically have few (4 to 8) homes per transformer (Tongia. 2007). protested against BPL implementation with FCC). 2007). which negatively affects ham radio operators (American Radio Relay League.g. These BPL deployments include Cincinnati (catering to over 50. (FCC. Wireless communications are based on radio waves. Early problems with BPL have included radio interference over the utility line. ranging from small pilot projects to large scale commercial deployments. where frequencies emitted by radio base stations. there were 35 BPL deployments across United States. Although wired systems make up the major portion of broadband penetration. BPL holds potential particularly for multihousing units (e. IPTV) with a BPL modem in a power outlet to have high-speed internet access. and radio devices are read by wireless devices using antenna. which is the FCC certified BPL database manager. 2007). ARRL.carrying the BPL signals and the user’s building. According to CTIA-Wireless Association (2006). wireless services have emerged as a significant contender in the market. 2004).65 million in June 2000 to 23 million in June 2006 (FCC. US utilities have differing standards of power systems and grids. computer. The number of BPL based lines increased from nearly 4. towers.g.

Government enterprises have increasingly adopted the wireless devices in the work place—a Government Computer News (GCN) survey revealed that 86 percent of agency managers use wireless technologies for conducting agency business (Walker. hence.g. pay bills electronically. PDAs) have also grown exponentially in the 21st century. and access entertainment and data. While FCC manages the spectrum used by individuals (e.. Thus. Wireless could be analog or digital. Wireless provides mobile Internet access to citizens and government officials (e.g. The FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) share responsibility for managing the spectrum. Wireless based communication devices (e. cellular phones and FM/AM radios are typically analog devices.g. cars). so that it can 25 . Unlicensed devices do not require such license or authorization.. garage door openers). a single device can be used to make phone calls.5 million in 2000 to 233 million in 2006. Analog refers to modulation (amplitude or frequency) of sinusoidal radio wave forms for communications delivery and reception. digital wireless is IP based. Generally. reduced background noise. cell phones.8 percent of households in 2006 were wireless only. NTIA manages the spectrum used by the federal government (e. and more security.the number of wireless subscribers increased from 109. coffee shops. Personal Digital Assistants. air traffic control and national defense). radio and television broadcasters). about 12. private sector (e. and public safety and health officials (e.g. The transmission and reception of electromagnetic radio frequency is at the core of wireless communications. these devices are protected from interference since other devices are prohibited from using the frequency..g. Digital wireless offers more advantages over analog: it can accommodate more users (due to packet switching on channels). Digital refers to binary (0 or 1) radio wave transmission and reception. better sound quality.g. wireless is a major technological development to contend with for e-government. wireless infrastructure needs to address the management of frequency spectrum. Moreover. devices using a particular radio frequency require FCC license or NTIA authorization. both from citizen and agency’s perspective. 2004)... police and emergency medical technicians).

the higher speeds allow it to be used for wireless monitors and faster data transfer between various devices. ad-hoc file sharing. 2009. enhanced 911. Bluetooth equipment use unlicensed frequency (2. Yet. PCS phones). medium-.15 family of standards). a national tsunami warning program. Newer 3G technologies.4 GHz) and have speeds of upto 720 kbps. Short-range Personal Area Networks (PANs) span about 30 feet (they comply with IEEE 802. From an e-government perspective. Contentious debates have followed in the auction process and usage of the recovered analog spectrum (700 MHz). Wireless companies have already started to deploy broadband technologies on their mobile cellular networks operating on licensed spectrum. emailing. the fund will pay for emergency and essential services. they could be used for home security. and Internet (Web browsing. analog devices are getting outmoded: from mid-February. UWB uses lowpowered.). 2009. the auction is expected to raise over $10 billion to be put into the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Fund. Portable Communication System. pulse modulation (often exceeding 1 GHz) and can have much higher speeds upto 100 mbps. streaming audio. analog television services will be terminated under the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005. such as public safety interoperable communications. emails). data (document). Analog cellphones are also giving way to the 3G (third generation) digital mobile phones (e. In contrast to the analog cell phones. Wireless communications infrastructure has also significantly advanced from the traditional cell phone infrastructure.support Internet communications (Web browsing. Medium range wireless is used for point-to-point communications upto 26 . and essential air-services. or long-range broadband devices.g. Indeed. Smart phones use the broadband for integrating voice (VOIP). such as Evolution Data Only (EVDO) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) provide wireless broadband services at speeds ranging from 300 kbps to 1 mbps. the digital wireless could be short-. where communications between two phones are enabled through radio communication with a tower in the geographic area. For example. Bluetooth and Ultra Wide Band (UWB) are PAN technologies. etc. FCC discontinued the requirement of cellphone providers to provide analog services from mid-February.

16 standards. industry advocates have argued that such services may be better provided by private agencies (Gillett. or mesh networks. unlike LMDS. enabling access to wireless Internet. does not require line of sight for data transfer and can penetrate through obstructions like buildings and trees.g.300 feet (they comply with IEEE 802. Coffman Cove. Several mobile service providers use Wi-Fi hot spots to complement their cellular services. From a government perspective.com (2007). A more recent long-range technology is the WiMax. JiWire. WMANs are vendor specific or comply with IEEE (802. which are based on improved 802. as of the writing of this article. identified over 63.700 hotspots in the United States. WiMax represents an improvement over WMANs. WiMax networks employ Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) to provide data speed upto 75 mbps. Longer range networks are point-to-point or point-tomultipoint that can span upto 30 miles. WiMax. with Earthlink in Philadelphia).16) standards and often use Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) for data speed upto 155 mbps within a 2 mile range.g. deployment of city or region wide wireless services holds potential for e-government 27 .e. several cities have provided municipal broadband through Wi-Fi. Alaska. Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) devices (e. network cards used in laptops) are typically medium range. OFDM. New Millennium Research Council. Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks (WMANs) are such long-range networks. enabling each antenna as an access point to broadcast at lower power with less interference. Wi-Fi hotspots are venues equipped with Wi-Fi antenna. the provision of medium-range and long-range wireless infrastructure has gained significance.11 family of standards). 2005). Debates rage over whether or not municipalities should provide such wireless services. 2006. there is no central tower). Thus.g. Indiana) or joint ventures with commercial operators (e. Notwithstanding these debates. Mesh networks represent another recent development in the long-range wireless networks. Scottsburg. The infrastructure is fully municipality-owned (e. which tracks hotspots around the world. which can provide last mile connectivity. In an effort to increase digital connectivity for tourism and economic development. They consist of several nodes (antenna) at short distances (i.

West.g. IP based services such as VoIP and IPTV are also based on packet switching technology. Yet. Sensor devices like RFIDs are used for unique identification of objects. police. particularly for first responder services (e.. 8. Web based government services provide information. they have the potential for becoming primary sources for such data. agriculture. E-government is generally considered as the services provided through Web. Broadband infrastructure—wired as well as wireless —provides the backbone for e-government processes. Recent studies (e. geographic. other technologies are also of significance to e-government. The above technological developments offer several prospects for e-government. Four such technological areas were identified in this chapter.g. IP based services such as VoIP and IPTV provide both voice and video communications enhancement. interactivity. Since governments have vast amounts of demographic. and act as alternative news forums. over the Internet. fire. Similar to Web services. there is much room for development with the evolution of Web 2. TECHNOLOGICAL PROSPECTS AND PROBLEMS FOR E-GOVERNMENT The above review shows significant development in recent technological developments with respect to e-government.processes. and transactions. they are 28 .0 technologies. they are also transforming government organizations.g. While the implementation of VoIP and IPTV holds cost advantages for government enterprises. Blogs and podcasts increase the capacity for public participation and discussion. economic. other related technologies have also facilitated e-government processes. Although Web based systems have been at the core of e-government. and other public domain data. state. health. Yet. 2007) show that Web services are getting saturated across federal. paramedics) and for field work (e. GIS and GPS provide location based services. including mapping and location in real time. Progress in computer and communications technology facilitated egovernment processes. and local government organizations. on-site data processing by inspectors).

SensorNet (http://www.g. worms.gov/) is aimed to provide a common data highway for the processing and dissemination of data from CBRNE. identification. smart ID cards. video and other sensors in order to provide near-real-time information to emergency management decision makers and first responders. RFID devices are used for inventory and supply chain management. snooping. transportation. 511.particularly beneficial for organizations with call centers that have to interact with the public (e. meteorological. and wireless communications for several purposes. for example. SensorNet. tracking animal movements. check emails. Wi-Fi hotspots (e. GPS.g. DSL. radiological. ambulances. 311. combine the Web. is not unproblematic. biological. and geocode (with GPS). These multipurpose smart phones allow site inspectors and other field officials to conduct their job on-site itself. The changes are updated periodically and can be viewed in Google Earth. For example. and fire tenders. take photographs. Integration of two or more of the above technologies holds prospects for enhancing efficiency of e-government. BPL provide high bandwidth connections. surf the Web. and assessment of chemical. and so on. Mobile digital phones allow one to speak over the phone. and viruses could compromise the system integrity. Sensor networks. and other services.sensornet. environmental resources. coffee shops) and Wi-Max provide medium. Security and privacy is a common concern in implementing the technologies. spam and phishing 29 .g. nuclear. in airports. Cable. The WaterWatch program of US Geological Survey (USGS) similarly uses a network of sensors across the country to provide a “real-time streamflow” map to track short-term changes in rivers and streams. while hacking. electronic toll collection. In Web based systems. nearreal-time detection. sensors like RFIDs. GPS is used for real time tracking and dispatching of first response emergency vehicles such as police cars.and long-range wireless connections. combines such technologies for high risk incident management (e. and explosive (CBRNE) threats). 911 systems). and is particularly useful for delivering audio and video. The application of the above technologies. Wired and wireless broadband infrastructure enables better communications. however. GIS is a powerful tool for managing land. optical fibers. based in Oakridge National Laboratory.

unless laws explicitly guarantee privacy of citizens and circumscribe the use of such data. In this. Usage of Web based GIS also raise security issues.emails could burden email inboxes. RFIDs are looked upon as “spy chips” that could invade one’s privacy. IPTV). back-end databases that cannot communicate with each other). or software codes are not compatible (e. VoIP. The proprietary systems could create lock-in. Interoperability between proprietary systems is rendered difficult when the hardware systems are not compatible. In this.g. establishing open systems into which individual units can “plug and play” and establishing standards across different units could facilitate interoperability. A second concern with interconnecting the different technologies is the issue of interoperability. government organizations could themselves misuse the data. the IP standards have facilitated integration of data and voice (e. the systems could be based on different standards or be proprietary. Technically.g. etc. Security and privacy is of particular concern for e-government for two reasons. financial transactions.g.g. or different departments within the same organization may have different preferences. iPhones do not allow alternative carriers or other programs. such as that related to national security. Google Streetview that shows street level photographs in Google Maps) to the national security of countries (e. Web browsing. He argues that interoperability requires a guiding vision of integration and both technical and inter-organizational cooperation. The standards of legacy systems in government enterprises may be different from the new ones.g. 2007). Moreover. Second. governments host sensitive data. XML and FGDC have become de facto standards for data sharing and geospatial databases. IP based systems are also prone to similar security breaches. so that they may be incompatible. the evolution of competing standards could hinder interoperability. First. 30 . Klischewski (2004) identifies two dimensions of interoperability: information integration and process integration. ranging from the privacy concerns of individual citizens (e. Google Earth’s mapping of defense facilities). personal data. Wireless devices are also prone to snooping and other security problems. With the spread of GIS and GPS systems. e. locative spam is expected to become a common phenomenon (Scharl. emailing.

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A basic BPL system Access BPL BPL Injector Medium Voltage Power Lines BPL Repeater Fiber / T1 Internet BPL Extractor Distribution Transformer Low Voltage Subscriber’s In-House BPL Modem + PC Source: NTIA (2004) 35 .Figure 1.