State Plan Adds Web-based Services for Public

“Governor Gary Locke said a plan just released outlines the state’s approach for supplying new web-based services to benefit citizens directly.The Washington State Digital Government Plan targets three new Internet services to be ready within the year: electronic procurement, joint tax filing for businesses and obtaining a master business license. The entry point for these transactions will be the state’s web portal, Access Washington Access Washington the starting point for transactions with government means Washington can offer government services online with easy-to-navigate, secure systems people expect from private-sector websites.Work began on the Digital Government Plan prior to Locke’s November 1999 directive to streamline agencies’ internal business processes and expand online government services to provide easier access for the public. The plan melds the technology groundwork Washington has laid in the last five years – work that has made Washington the two-time Digital State titleholder – with new Internet services developed at several state agencies.State government has selected a Salt Lake City firm, Digital Signature Trust, to provide all public entities in the state with digital certificates to use when doing online business with government. A digital certificate is a unique piece of identification with state registration numbers. It certifies the identity of the person who creates and sends an electronic document, payment or data. By attaching a digital certificate, people can use e-mail or the Internet to send legally binding documents, such as contracts or purchase orders, without having to follow up with a hand-signed paper copy. Digital certificates save time, instantly assure security, and have the potential to drastically reduce paperwork in government-to-government and government-to-citizen transactions.A cornerstone of the plan is agency collaboration in three areas: Internet applications, infrastructure, and policy. According to Steve Kolodney, director of the state Department of Information Services, reaching the plan’s goal of a one-face online government will depend on tightly coordinated cross-agency work.”