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EXCLUSIVE - Sharing Korean e-government experience and knowledge with countries around the world

OpenGov spoke to Mr. Hyun-Kwan Jung, Deputy Director, Global e-Government Division, e-Government Bureau, Ministry of the Interior in the Republic of Korea. The e-Government Bureau is responsible for coordinating policies for the promotion of an efficient digital and mobile government. It also promotes international cooperation in e-government and develops policies on the digital development of local communities and on the security of personal information.

The Republic of Korea is a global leader in e-government. The country was ranked at the third position globally and first in Asia in the 2016 UN e-Government survey

Mr. Hyun-Kwan Jung has been with the Ministry of the Interior since 2011. He has spent several years in the development of e-Government and now, in the Global e-Government Division, he is working to share his knowledge and experience with government officials around the world.

Could you describe your role and the functions of your division in the context of the e-Government Bureau and the whole-of-government?

I am with the Global e-Government Division, which is in charge of cooperation with international organisations and foreign governments in matters related to e-government

Let me tell you two main tasks of my division.

First, sharing our e-government expertise with all countries, especially with developing countries. As part of this work, we operate e-government experience program for foreign countries and provide information about Korean e-government to the diplomatic corps in Korea. This is what I am charge of.

Second is shaping the future of e-government with the international community. Recently, other terms are used instead of e-gov. In 2012, five countries [1] including Korea established Digtal-5 (D5) and started cooperation. In 2016, we hosted D5 ministerial summit and promulgated the ‘Busan declaration’ which lays out the future plans of D5. ‘Desire model of e-government’ and ‘Education plan for Informatization Human Resource’ and some other topics were discussed during the summit as a research agenda.

Can you tell us more about the e-Government Experience Program?

For international sharing of experience and knowledge with other governments, we host Korea e-Government Experience Program.

The main objective of the Korea e-Government Experience Program is to share experiences of e-government with government authorities from countries around the world, who share a vision of innovative administration through the application of e-government. Through the program, we will share details of our trials and errors as well as our success stories, and will reveal to participants how we overcame problems.

The program also offers participants the opportunity to experience key e-government services in action, live on-site. The program not only invites experts from Korea's government and e-government communities, but also authoritative figures from other countries providing a chance to network and share information.

The program consists of e-government related seminars, meetings with relevant government officials, meetings with private sector representatives and finally study tours on e-government.

There are several e-Government Experience Programs. Each program has its own specific purpose. There are programs for specific country or region, specific service (such as National ID or NID). Each program has 10 to 20 participants. There were 12 programs and 200 participants in 2016.

Last year, we made a book and leaflet which introduces Korean e-government in English and Spanish. It includes best practices such as our procurement system and Government Integrated Data Centre (G-IDC).

What are the areas of focus for your division in the short to medium term? Can you tell us about initiatives and projects you are working on?

First, we focus on establishing a new ‘e-Government Cooperation Center (EGCC)’ in our partner developing countries in order to share Korean experiences. Through EGCC, Korea and countries having EGCC can strengthen cooperation and we can work on projects together, like preparing an e-gov master plan and PCP[2] for selected e-gov services, consulting about laws and institutions, operating e-gov experience program. 

As an example of EGCC, in 2016, we established one center in Jakarta, Indonesia and we initiated cooperation by making some plans together like ‘a RoadMap for e-gov master execution’, ‘a plan for developing government business management’, ‘a plan for developing Public Information Sharing System’. And Indonesian government officers visited Korea and shared experiences related to e-gov for 10 days.

Second, we’ll continuously collaborate with other countries to move towards a desirable future of e-gov. And we are trying to find the best practices from all over the world related to e-gov matters, like BigData, IoT and we would like to share the results.

You spoke at the OpenGov Leadership forum on ‘Transforming IoT Data into Useful Information’. Can you tell us what kind of role is played by IoT and big data from IoT in digital government in Korea?

Our ministry is continuously trying to apply new technology to government services. 

Let me give you a few examples. First, this year we are planning to develop real-time health check service in the selected rural area for senior citizen’s safety. After development, we’ll provide the service for 2 years, and verify the utilization and satisfaction. If the service is proven to be helpful, we’ll extend it to other rural areas.

For use of IoT, data management is essential. So, we established ‘Data management plan’ in 2016. And we designated some data as a national master data, considering its importance and utilization. In 2017 we are planning to establish a total management system including standards and mapping policy. And we also try to enact ‘Data-Driven Administration Act’ for meeting legislative requirements

Which emerging technologies do you think will have the biggest impact on government in the short and long run? What are their potential benefits and risks?

Integrated Data and Data Analysis. Before the rise of importance of data, we collected and used data just for the need of each individual service. Now, we know that the collected data has its own value and it plays a central role in new service development and policy decision making process.

For example, we selected intra-city bus routes based on people’s location data from their cell phones. And also, we analyse the contract data for apartment management, so that we can decide which apartment needs to be investigated. There are illegal dealings but government cannot examine every apartment and data-driven approach is very useful. The data-driven decision can easily get people’s consent where there are conflicts of interest.

In the future, data will be available across all the ministries and the private sector, so that the needs of people can be known precisely, and the results of policy can be calculated with high accuracy. It will reduce the trial-and-error process of policy formulation. And going one step forward, AI will anticipatively propose policy.

There are also risks like Cyber Security, Privacy, Corruption. But we manage the risk by enforcing security and transparency, by distributing the power to public.

We recently came across a ‘Mid-to-Long Term Master Plan in Preparation for the Intelligent Information Society’ from the Government of the Republic of Korea. Can you briefly tell us about the role of your ministry in the plan?

Our ministry, my Bureau, is in charge of e-Government including Personal Information Protection Policy. So, applying the Intelligent Information to government is our role widely. And specifically, establishing a national data management system, using intelligent IT to government, legal and ethical reform and prevention of negative impact.

For this, we make ‘Plan for Intelligent government’, and ‘Smart Nation’. Today’s technical innovation will make government smart. We will find and support the project from ministries for intelligent innovation for government. 

‘Before Service’ is one of the projects. With the services, people don’t need to demand or wait for what they want. The government suggests beneficial services considering environment, location. ‘ChatBot’ gives counselling service. If I want to know the government office location, I just write the location to KakaoTalk message (App similar to WhatsApp). And they write answers immediately. This kind of service will apply extend to formulated service first like ‘Car Registration’, ‘Water Utility Work’, ‘Passport’ by way of showing an example.

Intelligent IT is now changing government services, jobs and the way of competition. But the most important thing is to improve the quality of people’s lives. And our goal is to implement an e-government that extends the benefits of technological advancement to the entire population.

[1]The other four were United Kingdom, Estonia, Israel and New Zealand. The first Digital-5 Summit that took place in London in 2014, ministers signed the D-5 Charter which states the purpose of D-5, nine principles of digital development (including open source, open standards, open markets and open government) and operating methods.[2]Pre-Commercial Procurement or PCP is the procurement of research and development of new innovative solutions before they are commercially available.

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