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									 Interoperability in e-Government:
 Legal Modelling on the Rise Again

          Roland Traunmüller
Johannes Kepler University of Linz, Austria
Institute of Informatics in Business and Government
My Personal Background 1

   Annual EGOV- Conference Series: Founded 2001 they have
    become the big European conference with scientific focus;
    about 200 researchers attending: Aix, Prague, Zaragoza,
    Copenhagen; Krakow
    eEurope Awards 2003 : The Como event 2003 involved 357
    cases. The report drawing conclusions co-authored by the
    presenter - see .
   eEurope Awards 2005: The Manchester event 2005 involved
    involved the presenter as juror for the competition- see .
   Roadmap 2020: Cooperation in the ongoing EU Roadmap
    project on “e-Government in the Next Decade”.

                           Interoperability and Legal           2
My Personal Background 2

 Eastern Europe eGOV Days: Annually organised by the
  presenter - the last years in Budapest, next event 19 - 22
  April 2006 in Prague.
 MEA – Workshops on e-Government: The presenter
  organised one-day Workshops in Schiras and Damascus;
  next a WS at ICTTA, 24 –26 April 2006, Damascus.
 MEA - World Information Technology Forum:
  Organization by UNESCO and IFIP in 2005 in Gaborone
  (Botswana). The presenter was in charge of Section 8:
  Empowerment and Participation.

                         Interoperability and Legal            3

 Public Governance as Scope
 E-Government as Transformation
 Online One Stop Government
 Back Office Integration
 Usability and Knowledge Enhancement
 Aspects of Interoperability (EIF)
 Work on Semantic Standards
 Identity Management

                    Interoperability and Legal   4
    e-Government Has a History

    Concepts on Government and IT have changed.
    The praxis: Big administrative projects since five decades.
    Academic interest emerged three decades ago starting with
     the term Data Processing in Public Administration.
    International institutionalisation by IFIP (International
     Federation of Computer Societies) with founding 1990 IFIP
     Working Group “Information Systems in Public Administration”.
    One decade ago the concepts electronic Government
     (Europe) and digital Government (US) were created.
    Further concepts have emerged: some replacing “e” with “m”
     for mobile or “k” for knowledge; others such as “drop the e”
     bring a radical view.
    Now Public Governance broadens the scope.

                              Interoperability and Legal             5
     Now the Scope is Public Governance

     The scope of e-Government has widened to “e-Governance”
     Public Governance can be seen covering three zones.
1.    Inner: Public Administration as the machinery of Government
2.    Middle: Public Governance cycle with the “policy cycle”.
3.    Outer: The shifting balance of the public and private realm
     The discussion on Governance has got momentum on diverse
-     a co-evolution of Public Governance and e-Transformation;
-     a trend in evaluating/ranking Governments (Education: PISA);
-     a stimulation by the corporate governance discussion.
     It is useful to stick to the established label “e-Government” and
      having a broader scope of Public Governance in mind.

                               Interoperability and Legal                 6
e-Government is e-Transformation

 e-Government is one way to improve Government.
 e-Government goes further than earlier approaches
  to modernisation - it aims at fundamentally
  transforming the production processes of public
 e-Government thereby transforms the entire range of
  relationships of public bodies to clients and partners.
 e-Government is a socio-cultural and socio-technical

                        Interoperability and Legal          7
         Actors and relations in
           Citizen information
           Online public services
  Citizen complaint management
           Citizen service points    Citizen                          Co-operation between agencies
                                                                                Contractual relations

Acts on behalf
 of a citizen or
business client
                   Intermediary                                                       Authority

             Business information                                   Company, which acts on
            Online public services                                  behalf of an authority in order
  Business complaint management                                     to provide public services
           Business service points

                                                Interoperability and Legal                              8
Definition of e-Government used by the

 „eGovernment is the use of information and
 communication technologies in public administrations
 - combined with organisational change and new skills
 - to improve public services and democratic
 processes and to strengthen support to public

                         Interoperability and Legal                                9
 Characteristic Features

    There is a big difference between e-Commerce and e-
    There are several characteristic features.
    Here four points of distinction are given:
1.   Distinctions – Law and negotiation
2.   Distinctions – Institutions
3.   Integration
4.   Multidisciplinary discipline
    Change becomes pervasive

                            Interoperability and Legal     10
Distinctive Characteristics I: Law
and Negotiation
   There is a big difference between e-Comm and e-Gov due to
    several reasons.
   One is the extraordinarily complex goal structure of the public
   Legal norms are a standard vehicle of communication between
    government and executive agencies.
   Often norms establish a framework leaving leeway for
    interpretation and situative decisions.
   Here consensus building and negotiation come in. Quasi as
    supplementary mode of work.
   Legal norms give particular meaning to administrative
    structures: protecting the rights of citizens, procedures bound to
    the rules of law or safeguarding legal validity.
   Administration works via a complex tissue of cooperation of
    acting entities.
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Distinctive Characteristics II:
   Public agencies - unlike in the private field - are not spurred by
   Administrative acts are a particular type of products : providing
    licenses, decreeing obligations.
   Responsibility seems to be often diluted, due to a multitude of
    actions in complex networks.
   Administrative culture and historically grown structures may
    impede change.
   Inertial forces are reinforced by bureaucratic attitudes.
   Administrative work appears as complex and rather strange.

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The Pivot: Online One Stop Government

 Innovative interaction models based on modern IT
 Unique access point to many public services and info
 Connecting glue between external customers and
  internal service provision
 A single-window access for all services regardless of
  government level and agency.
 Further, a multi-channel access mix with a diversity
  of contact points: home and mobile as prime choice,
  then kiosk, citizen office and multifunctional service
 Design has to consider all stages of service
  provision: information, intention, contracting,
  settlement, aftercare.
                        Interoperability and Legal         13
Online One-stop Government
Needs Data Interchange
   Taking as an example the life situation of civil marriage. In a
    systemic view it is a rather simple case that will comprise
    initiation by citizens, proof of legal grounds, proclamation.
   Yet in any concrete case a variety of transactions and
    repositories is concerned; so internally it is just the opposite
    from simple what goes on in Online One-stop Government
   In the life situation of civil marriage a lot of transactions and
    number of repositories are involved - data are brought together
    from diverse data sources and disseminated to several
   So before the event documents located in different agencies
    have to be checked; afterwards many updates on documents
    have to be made (change of name, civil status, common
    domicile etc.)

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Service Orientation Needs
   It starts with thinking in service categories; then understanding
    the nature of an administrative process is essential; later
    rebuilding comes in.
   Rebuilding has to integrate divers demands from citizens,
    businesses and public authorities.
   Processes in Government are very particular, often they cut
    across different government levels – local, regional or national -
    and different types of agencies
   Cooperation joins up different branches and levels needing
    close and pertinent contact among all actors involved.
   Public administrations work via a complex tissue of cooperation
    involving quite many acting entities.

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 System architecture: eGOV platform for online one-stop Government

                                  user                                           ...
        National                                                               Service
                       Internet                                      Local     Creation
Public Authority                              GSM/UMTS
                                                                    Service Environment
                                                 Network                   Service
    National                                                       Repository
                              One-Stop                                    Creation Public
                          Government Portal                             Environment
   Repository                                                       Service
                           global access point for
                                                                    Creation Public
                          citizens, businesses and
    Service                      authorities
  Environment                                                     Local Public
                                     Interoperability and Legal                     16
One-stop Government Calls for Back
Office Integration

  Electronic Service Delivery is the immediate
   perspective for clients – yet - turning to an inside
   view - integrated platforms are needed.
  Most applications cut across different governmental
   levels. Generally, cooperation has to join up different
   branches and levels and so have close contacts
   among all actors involved are needed.
  Online One-stop Government demands for back-
   office integration and interoperability - both are
   closely connected and bringing tangible increases in
  Interoperability touches several levels such as
   technology, organisation, legal and political matters.

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Portals as the Linking Glue

                          External citizen / customer
Process models


                    Front-office Intake and communication

                  Mid-office Platform for secure transactions

                 Back-office Service Production and Settlement
                                  Interoperability and Legal     18
Aspects of Interoperability

    Online One-stop Government demands for back-office
     integration and interoperability - both are closely connected
     and bringing tangible increases in effectiveness.
    Interoperability means the ability of public authorities to share
     information and knowledge via their ICT systems.
    Interoperability touches several issues such as technology,
     organisation, legal and political matters.
    The European Interoperability Framework (EIF) endorses three
     aspects: technical, semantic, organisational.

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The Benefits of Interoperability

    The benefits become clear in the following settings:
 -   Bundling different services to the same customer.
 -   Need of an agency to get data from others in order
     to produce a service.
 -   Data interchange between geographical dispersed
 -   Exchanging metadata such as directories and
 -   In particular services as identity management.

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The EIF Distinction and Extensions

       The European Interoperability Framework EIF endorses three main aspects
        (see below i,ii,iii).
       THen two more points are added:
 i.     Technical interoperability covers the technical issues of computer systems. It
        includes also issues on platforms and architecture.
 ii.    Semantic interoperability ensures that the precise meaning of exchanged
        information is understandable by other applications.
 iii.   Organizational interoperability is concerned with business processes and
        cooperation of agencies. Here the requirements of decentralized agencies
        have to meet the central needs on coordination.
 iv.    Extension of iii : The Modinis project extends iii also covering political, legal
        and structural conditions.
 v.     Identity Management: It is n some way a field of its own, but in praxis very
        closely related and not easy to separate

       In the following main attention goes to ii and v.

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    Interoperability at the Semantic Level

    Semantic standards are a necessary condition for Electronic
     Data Interchange.
    It allows a global use of data locally collected – given that their
     legal and administrative semantics is represented carefully.
    Several approaches exist mostly based on XML languages.
    With RDF a minimum on semantic structures comes in.
    Now modelling semantic of data with more complex descriptions
     (ontologies) is on the rise.
    There are many obstacles in practical work:
-    Basic problem is a lack in common domain ontologies.
-    Further, the legal language for administrative applications
     results in a complexity surmounting the private sector.
-    When administrative documents cross state borders difficulties
     even increase.

                               Interoperability and Legal                  22
 Obstacles impeding Semantic
    A lot of specific problems appear in an international view:
1.   It is different to find adequate meaning of terms.
2.   The nature of the administrative process allows some
     openness; discretionary power of street level bureaucrats.
3.   There is an increasing dynamics and complexity in law.
4.   Difficulties comprise adequate meaning of terms (taking
     licenses, certificates)
5.   Also different connotations of terms occur: boundaries of
     professions as in the case of lawyer and barrister
6.   Non-existence of counterparts poses problems: public
     honours, awards, and titles

                              Interoperability and Legal           23
    Legal Modelling Grows in Importance

    In e-Government the legal modelling grows in importance. One
     argument for the growing importance is based in the domain
     itself; the quasi ubiquity of legal norms, the quantity of rules.
    Legal modelling is by no way not a new topic – yet the focus
     before was distinct, namely put on the decision process (as to
     mention the legal expert systems research that started three
     decades ago).
    Now the focus is legal modelling as part part of the electronic
     data interchange. Being part of Online One stop Government
     has upgraded the importance of legal modelling; now it is a
     necessary condition for building standards.

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The Need for Legal Drafting

   Apart from the interchange topic - in a knowledge enhanced
    Government there are other applications using legal modelling.
    Very important is usage for legal drafting.
   With a strong interest on Public Governance the policy cycle
    becomes more and more important.
   Usually legal drafting is underrated. Now formal methods such
    as in the POWER project provide new means.

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Routing Citizen Requests

   Modelling norms opens automatism. As an example a goal is an
    automatically routing of citizen demands – either to relevant
    knowledge repositories or to the agency with competencies in
    the legal sense.
   Various ways exist: mapping requests on administrative and
    legal structures by means of domain ontologies; comparing key
    words; evolving scenarios of life situations.
   The target is different: a plain data base, a sophisticated piece
    of software, a staffed service centre (e.g. a call centre) or an
    official in a particular agency

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One Word on Invoking Expertise

   Giving the complexity of cases a software-only-solution for
    advice is not the only option. Another is bringing in the right
    human expert
   Mediating persons at the counter of public service shops
    improve their capability for advice by using the system
   Making remote expert know-how accessible when needed for a
    specific case. Such expert dialogues may be enabled via
    advanced multimedia technology (dialogues become trialogues)
   With the accessed expert himself using knowledge repositories
    human and machine expertise become interwoven

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 A Broader Need for Advanced
 Retrieval Systems
    The need for legal information retrieval becomes urgent:
1.   Policy making and legal drafting need retrieval.
2.   There is a need for handling individual cases of high legal
     complexity (e.g. tax, permits)
3.   In addition, many administrative actions need building a case.
     The material gained is evaluated in the light of legal premises.
    It is the proper task of the administrators to interpret the law -
     the facts of a case have to be evaluated in the light of judicial
    Present retrieval is insufficiently used, as retrieval systems are
     keyword-oriented not case-oriented
    Needed are tools for case based retrieval; yet nearly all
     systems using deontic logic, probabilistic measures, neuronal
     nets etc. belong to the scientific realm

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A Particular Aspect: e-Identity

 A particular aspect of interoperability is e-Identity
  needed in most administrative transactions.
 Applications comprise different areas with different
  importance and sensitivity. There is a portfolio of
  divers applications listed in next foil.
 An annotation: Differences in urgency appear
  between sectors. So in e-Commerce having a 3 %
  loss by bouncing cheques is tolerable and included in
  the cost-schema; administrations could not tolerate 3
  % wrong passports.

                       Interoperability and Legal         29

     Here examples are given in rising order of sensitivity and
a)    City cards with multiple use (transport, entertainment)
b)    Minor administrative tasks (allowance)
c)    e-Identity for core admin. areas (tax declaration)
d)    e-Identity for identity cards
e)    e-Identity for passports and visa
     In the last two examples additional technical problems occur:
-     Reading capability in several countries
-     Technical duration and legal validity
-     Lamination of chips on paper etc.

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 In Praxis: e-Identity Solutions in Parallel

    The picture is quite equivocal:
1.   There is a clear commitment and long-term trend to digital
2.   In reality many important applications still run on conventional
     ways (combining passwords, magnetic strips, chips etc).
3.   As a broad deployment of digital signatures will take time such
     intermediary solutions may remain important for several years.
4.   Partnerships and intermediaries are also a viable way. They
     may include bank staff, local officials and also professional
    This breaks a common deadlock: It is that (a) few applications
     exist because there few citizen cards and (b) deployment of
     such cards is weak, because too few applications are running.

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