Washington, DC- A new report released this week by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and Federal Computer Week demonstrates the wide scope and large amount of e-commerce activity of the federal government – everything from selling translated newspapers to online bill payment services.
“The level of e-commerce activity is staggering,” said Ed Black, President and CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA). He continued, “There is clearly a disturbing pattern at work here. Agencies are capitalizing on new technology and lowered barriers to entry to move beyond their authorized missions into areas that are within the traditional realm of the private sector.”
While CCIA acknowledges the need for a more efficient government that utilizes the Internet to provide improved “e-government,” the activity described in the report goes far beyond increasing efficiency. ” Many of the actions described are inappropriate for the federal government and do not serve the taxpayer well. The government needs to concentrate on making e-government a reality, instead of duplicating the services of the private sector,” said Black.
CCIA issued its own study on this issue entitled “The Role of Government in a Digital Age.” The study was created as a blueprint for policymakers, laying out factors for evaluating the propriety of online government activities. The study can be found on CCIA’s website at www.ccianet.org.
“New technology should not mean the erosion of the basic principles underlying our government’s relationship to its citizens,” concluded Black. “The government should not expand its activities into areas under the traditional purview of the private sector. We call on federal and state agencies to reevaluate their actions, and for Congress to use its oversight powers to curtail activity that competes improperly with the private sector.”