David Fletcher's Government and Technology Weblog : news & perspectives from a long-time egov advocate
Updated: 8/1/2003; 2:57:28 PM.



Monday, July 21, 2003

AESDirect is the U.S. Census Bureau's free, internet based system for filing Shipper's Export Declaration (SED) information to the Automated Export System (AES). It is the electronic alternative to filing a paper SED, and can be used by U.S. Principal Parties in Interest (USPPIs), forwarders, or anyone else responsible for export reporting.

As a business, I would feel better about using AESDirect if it had the familiar SSL lock and I was assured that it would be a secure, encrypted transaction.  They are asking for SSN, EIN, or D-U-N-S, plus a lot of other information that suggests a need for privacy / security.  AESDirect has a lot of interesting functionality and support for third party developers to link directly into the system.

With a growing exporter community in Utah, we need to make sure we incorporate this and other related services in the Utah Business Portal.  We had some minor problems with the Moveable Type RSS feed that is supplying news to the portal, so you will notice HTML tags in the display - until tonight when it should all be fixed.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

The Container Security Initiative has made substantial progress in the past year and a half.  With over 200 million sea cargo containers a year, DHS has its hands full trying to identify potential risks and is using technology to make it happen.  The port of Durban, S.A. was added this week to the list of ports participating in the initiative.

5:18:30 PM    comment []

In a ministerial declaration proceeding from a European Union meeting in Como, Italy earlier this month, European leaders (my bold and italics):

  • Recognised the role of eGovernment in creating on-line applications and services for the users, favouring in the same time innovative technologies to the benefit of the Information Society.
  • Acknowledged the role of eGovernment as a driver for the modernization of the entire European public sector and as a key in increasing productivity and efficiency of Public Administration, thereby freeing resources and delivering more value for taxpayers money.
  • Underlined that European competitiveness can be strengthened by reducing administrative burden (i.e., red tape) on enterprises and costs for administrations.
  • Emphasised the importance of eGovernment as a means to improve efficiency and transparency in the public sector and the European institutions and thus increase attractiveness for investment.
  • Pointed out the role of eGovernment as a tool for enhancing the quality of life of European citizens through inclusive public services for all.
  • Recognised the relevance of using ICT to develop and enhance new forms of involvement and participation of the citizens in policy definition and decision-making processes.
  • Pointed out the role of eGovernment as a means to achieve a modern European administration through electronic cooperation between different levels of government and across national borders.
  • Recognised the need of close cooperation between European Commission and the European Countries in order to define pan-European standards and to identify and implement effective pan-European online services.
  • Recognised the World Summit on Information Society to be held in Geneva, December 2003 and Tunisia, November 2005, as a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss at global level the establishment of a Global Information Society. Hence, Ministers recommended that due relevance be given to eGovernment in the Summitís discussion and in the WSIS Action Plan.

The whole thing is a bit wordy, but certainly demonstrates an ongoing commitment by Europe's leaders to eGovernment.  I am interested in their commitment to develop online services that extend across countries.  Here in the US, there are a number of services that extend across states, but these still have much room for improvement and there are certainly more that can be added.  Watching what the EU does with pan-European online services may provide some additional ideas.  The ministers also properly recognize the need for a secure trust model that extends across the EU.

Linking-up Europe: the importance of interoperability for e-government services

10:26:47 AM    comment []

Interior Secretary, Gail Norton, recently announced $70 million in grant money to protect endangered species.  The only grant identified for Utah was a $235,237 grant to partially fund the purchase of land along the Provo River and Hobble Creek to protect the only known spawning and rearing habitat for the endangered June sucker.  I became familiar with the June sucker and its travails when I was working to clean up petroleum spills from state-owned underground storage tanks.  A 7-11 store located very near to the June sucker spawning grounds had a major gasoline release into the groundwater and remediators were working frantically to control the plume from spreading further.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has several online systems to support the management of endangered species.  These comprise the Environmental Conservation Online System (or ECOS).  The Threatened and Endangered Species System (TESS) and the Fish Passage Decision Support System (FPDSS).  FPDSS has a mapper and reporting system that make information about barriers to fish passage in the U.S. available to policy makers and the public. ECOS hasn't been updated for a while.  Like many websites, the "What's New" section really needs some attention.

I came in this morning and learned that the Emergency Operation Center had flooded over the weekend.  Risk Management has been assigned to respond to any recovery issues and DFCM will address the mechanical issues.  By the way, the list of approved capital improvement projects for Utah (FY2004) is now online.  These funds are meant to address things like sprinkler system problems and mechanical systems upgrades.  The list was approved by the Building Board in May.  And a new website for the Building Board is being constructed.

Over the weekend, I hiked the Yellow Pine trail.  The High Uintas Preservation Council is proposing that this area be part of the "Mount Watson Primitive Area".  It would be interesting to see what the RS2477 proposal for this area is.  It is pretty rugged terrain.  I certainly didn't see any roads in the area we hiked on Friday, but I have seen some dirt roads in the area west of Washington Lake.

9:24:04 AM    comment []

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