What is digital Government?
Digital Government or e-Government has become synonymous for a modern government.
E-Government literally means "electronic government".
The term e-Government has established itself worldwide as "the administration of government by means of electronic technology". In general, it stands for the simplification of work routines and processes through the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the areas of information, communication and transaction within and between government institutions as well as between the government and citizens or businesses.
Digital administration also increases the transparency of government actions, for example, through open government data (OGD) initiatives, as well as the democratic participation of citizens (e.g. through online petitions).
E-Government can only function efficiently when public authorities work closely together and cooperate inter-administratively. The existing infrastructure is shared. The advantage of the portal group concept is that many applications are available from a single point of entry. The user’s identity only needs to be verified once in the portal. The technical term for requiring the user to sign in only once is called "Single Sign On (SSO)".
E-Government encompasses all electronic public administration services that are available. Public authorities can make use of an electronic signature (Amtssignatur) or “seal” as official signature to sign contracts digitally.
Please read more about, how e-Government is organised in Austria, and the Coordination Boards Digital Administration.
The E-Government Act
The Act is the core of Austrian laws on E-Government, entered into force on 1 March 2004 and last amended in 2018. In between, several adjustments were introduced, such asthe reference to the eIDAS Regulation.
This law serves as the legal basis for e-Government Public Online Services.
Please see further Information about Austrian laws in e-Government (in German).
The highest principles of E-Government law are:
- Freedom of choice in selecting the means of communication when contacting public authorities;
- Ensuring security and data protection through appropriate technical measures such as the citizen card;
- Accessibility measures for people with special needs in order to ensure the access to information and the use of digital services in the public administration. Thereby, international standards must be met and adequate access to Internet sites must be provided.
"Once Only" principle: Public authorities are required, according to their technical capabilities and in compliance with the requirements stipulated by law, to retrieve the available data of the affected person from electronic registers. Thus, certain information (birth certificates, proof of citizenship and proof of residency or documents from the Commercial Register) no longer needs to be presented by the affected person but it can, with the person’s legal consent or legal authorisation, be directly requested by the authority from an electronic register. The administration Registers are the main basis for a variety of E-Government applications.
One-stop principle: In Austria, the principle of creating a one-stop shop for citizens and businesses has been implemented. This can save unnecessary administrative channels and time. The initiated procedures are distributed internally to the competent authorities.
The Austrian E-Government strategy is based on the following additional important principles: