JOURNAL OF GOVERNANCE AND POLITICS

JOURNAL OF GOVERNANCE AND POLITICS

SCHOOL OF GOVERNANCE AND POLITICS, MGIMO UNIVERSITY, RUSSIA

Archive

№2(5), 2019

Reshaping Governance and Politics in the Digital Era

Digitalization in Government and Law Enforcement Bodies

Radmir A. Gusev,
School of Governance and Politics, MGIMO University

Abstract

This article is devoted to the prospects of digitalization in the sphere of public administration. It also considers the existing projects that have moved to the electronic system and now function as Internet platforms. The level of technology today allows society to move to a new stage of development. However, not all countries carry out intensive robotization or digitalization. But it is worth askingwhether digitalization should necessarily be carried out in the sphere of public administration. Another question is whether the ongoing digitalization is an indicator of the growth of efficiency in this area.In addition, it is not superfluous to mention what the real goal of digitalization in the country is — the "digital race" for the sake of high performance or a real increase in the efficiency of the management system, supported by the theory.

Keywords: digitalization, bureaucratic system,e-government, protection of personal data, Internet of everything, Internet platform, crowdsourcing, Web Measure Index.

Main body

Technology has become anintegral part of life, and therefore it is impossible to imagine a sphere of human life that would exist separately from scientific and technological progress, especially the sphere of public administration. Today even such factors as clear legal regulation of issues, compliance with the principles of structuring and delimitation of the workamount, over which hierarchical structures work with a direct distribution of responsibilities can contribute to the productive and efficient functioning of a state body. Thus, a certain technologically advanced system makes it possible to go beyond not only a specific mechanism that works for a long time, but perhaps the entire bureaucratic system. But this is only a technical part of changes in the digital age, while digitalization and informatization can be seen as a fundamentally new view of public administration, which is expressed in two indicators. Firstly, the increasing moral satisfaction of state apparatus employees (which is an important factor, according to the school of behavioral sciences). Secondly, the disclosure of greater opportunities by reducing the amount of time (one of the most important non-renewable resources that existed and represented the primary value throughout mankind) on processes, that earlier were carried out only due to the human resource, namely its quality and the interest of a particular person in a particular task. Let us consider the logical chain justifying the need of updating technological changes, as well as the practical aspect of the issue, expressed in particular examples of the use of technologies.

The digitalization of public administration can be divided into thefollowing components:

  1. the digitalization of public administration processes from the primary tasks of a particular employee to national projects to reduce paperwork, including the improvement of technological conditions to increase the efficiency of civil servants;
  2. the transition of the process of employment, testing and obtaining the relevant competencies to an electronic system, adapted to the user;
  3. establishment of communication between citizens and public authorities in the complaints system to increase the speed of processing appeals.

With regard to public administration itself, it would be possible to divide the digitalization of public administration processes into several stages. For example, S.G.Kamolov divides the evolution of public administration into three stages (Kamolov, 2016):

e-government

characterized by the use of calculating power of computer systems

open government

uses cloud computing

smart government

powered by self-learning neuro-computer systems

In Japan, the transition to a new stage of government is not considered separate from the social transformation. The concept of «S 0.5» takes place in the country of high technologies:the transition to a new stage of development, followsafter the post-industrial society, as a result of digitalization, which is accompanied by the destruction of five barriers:

  • departmental and interdepartmental bureaucratic barriers,
  • barriers associated with the legal system,
  • technological barriers,
  • personnel barriers,
  • barriers associated with public acceptance of the concept itself.

However, before developing the digitalization conceptit is essential to resolve the question of what the purpose of introduction of technologies and primary function of already developed electronic/smart government is: management efficiency, which can be reached by digitalization, or the transition to a more technologically advanced level as the essential goal. Kamolov calls this a "trap" for the digitalization of public administration, as well as the authors of the report on the digital future at the Gaidar forum: «our hypothesis is that the digitalization of public administration can contribute to its effectiveness. And the success of the digitalization will depend on how the universal requirements for the management by results are considered» (Dobrolyubova, 2019).

A striking example of the use of digitalization as a method of increasing the efficiency of government or law enforcement agencies is the introduction of certain technologies in developing countries. While developed countries, in addition to basic functions, often undergo modernization in competition with other countries in the international arena, the governments of less developed countries are focused on domestic policy. In mid-October 2019, CNN published information that the Indian police authorities are implementing facial recognition technology (which will be used even in public places) in order to easier cope with the problem of finding missing children. Such measures are necessary for two main reasons. [1] Firstly, the number of police officers per 100 thousand inhabitants in India (144) is almost three times less than in Europe (318), which is why technology should help to compensate for the lack of human resources. Secondly, a third of all missing children today may be in orphanages, which is the result of insufficient technological equipment of law enforcement agencies, which do not have a database with information about each child, nor appropriate tracking technologies that would help search for missing people. Thus, the government wants to create a single centralized facial recognition system, accessible to law enforcement agencies, which would contain data on children, and which would automatically transmit information on detected children, entered previously in the database. It would seem that this news must not be so urgent, because today technological perfection for developed countries may seem commonplace. However, the world experience vividly illustrates how seriously today, in the 21st century, the introduction of technologies and digitalization of management processes is taking place. Moreover, just on the technical complexity of the implementation of facial recognition system across the country, the discussion does not end, because there is no legislative framework for the protection of personal data in India at the moment and the question whether a parentcan refuse to provide data to the state through the facial recognition systemis not thought out. In this regard, experts expect a flood of applications for violation of privacy in the courts, and, possibly, in the courts of munsif, considering civil cases, if the application contains claims for compensation for moral damage.

Regarding the second point, it should be noted that today employment in the public service is not open and transparent enough. It is meant that entering the civil service, the citizen often has no idea about the expected position and possible duties, as the person is accepted not on a position but in the organization. In this case, the concept of the perception of power as a body has a negative impact on the employment process. No less strange is that some vacancies in ministries, services are on sites such as hh.ru and superjob.ru. Moreover, some government agencies are registered as companies and post vacancies on these sites, such as the government of Moscow. [2] It is clear that even in the legislation it is prescribed that the state body is the employer and work on a set of positions is made out according to the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, nevertheless for employees of state bodies for whom certain qualification is important and which have powers for ensuring worthy life of citizens, creation of the separate Internet platform on which officially any state body could place information on vacancies and required qualifications is possible. Today, the concept of the "Internet of things", which is gradually moving into the concept of the "Internet of everything" cannot but affect the public service and management as a process. Employment for management positions should be rethought in the era of digitalization and have its own Internet platform for more careful selection of candidates.

Finally, digitalization necessarily concerns the feedback system of the state (expressed in specific bodies that resolve certain problems within the framework of complaints) on the one hand and the development of civil society on the other hand. As for the feedback, the provision of each citizen with access to the Internet should not only provide an opportunity to communicate with the world and have a range of entertainments but also be a way of instant "communication" with the state authorities, whereby everyone will be able without any difficulties and paperwork to fix aproblem in a certain place and notify the state authorities immediately, providing physical evidence (photo, video). Such a system exists for citizens of the Moscow region and is implemented on the website "Dobrodel", the official portal of the government of the Moscow region. [3] After the appeal of the citizen, operators determine the competence, depending on which the complaint goes to a specific body and department, where employees determine the timing of solving the problem and work directly with it. Obviously, it is not necessary to remind about the need to transfer this system to the federal level or at least create a similar one in each subject. Further, Internet platforms can contribute to the implementation of the principles of civil society. This is expressed in the fact that every active citizen can make their own efforts to create something new or to implement a large-scale project. A practical expression of this aspect of the issue can be called a crowdsourcing platform operating in Moscow. As stated on the platform's website, "crowdsourcing is an information technology that gathers interested people in one place and gives the opportunity to offer their ideas on a given topic, comment and discuss, refine and choose the best." [4]

Theory

Speaking about the regulation of this issue, namely the assessment of the readiness of a particular state to move to the concept of e-government, as well as the possibility of an objective assessment of the digitalization, there are indicators developed by the UN Department of economic and social development. However, the components of the index itself do not refer specifically to the digitalization of public administration (the readiness Index for e-government is composed of three subindexes — subindex development of government websites Web Measure Index, Telecommunication Infrastructure Index, Human Capital Index), [5] therefore, firstly, the indicator itself seeks to reflect not only the digitalization of government processes, and secondly, the assessment is made only on the development of government websites (and in view of the impossibility of assessing all web-sites in the state, the range of them is limited to government web-site and web-sites of five ministries). According to the above classification, this indicator fully affects only the issue of the system of complaints from citizens and two-way communication between the state and the population, because the availability of the site, the convenience of its use are a necessary condition for such communication. However, it was already mentioned above that the transition of the public administration system and bureaucratic structures to electronic platforms is also important. The e-government website/ministry/service may not be an objective indicator of digitalzation, as the process involves using electronic platforms by each staff member and the transition to the new system-wide level. On the one hand, a public authority can observe an Internet platform where every citizen has a personal account and electronic access to public services, but on the other, civil servants, especially the lower levels, can also work conservatively among the paperwork, without using electronic systems at all. In this case, is the government or other state structure sufficiently digitalized? Thus, existing indicators assessing the level of digitalization or e-government require revision and the inclusion of additional indicators. For example, A. Chugunov notes that Russia's position traditionally has low values (according to the Index published in 2008, Russia took 60th place).(Chugunov, 2009) However, national projects show positive results. As a result of the implementation of the Federal target program "Electronic Russia", the number of Internet users has almost doubled, which implies the level of infrastructure readiness of the population for the development of e-government. [5]

Conclusion

Thus, digitalization can contribute to improving the spheres of social life and adjust management processes. As A.V. Chugunov notes, world experience shows that the introduction of e-government technologies provides citizens and businesses with access to high-quality services of state agencies and at the same time reduces the cost of these services (Chugunov, 2009). However, public authorities should not forget about the goals of the process itself, so that technological improvement does not become the main goal, and socio-economic, spiritual and cultural tasks do not take a back seat.

References

  1. Dobrolyubova E.I. (2019) Digital future of public administration by results / E.I.Dobrolyubova, V.N.Yuzhakov, A.A.Efremov, E.N.Klochkova, E.V.Talapina, Y.Yu.Startsev. - Moscow: p.h. "Delo" RANEPA, 2019. – 114 p. - (Scientific reports: public administration).
  2. Kamolov S.G. (2016) Public administration in the digital age / S.G.Kamolov // 25 years of Russian foreign policy: collection of materials of the X RAMI Convention (Moscow, 8-9 December 2016). - Moscow: MGIMO University, 2017. - Pp. 449-460.
  3. Toward realization of the new economy and society — Reform of the economy and society by the deepening of “Society 5.0”— Outline. Keidanren (Japan Business Federation). April 19, 2016. [Electronic resource.] http://www.keidanren.or.jp/en/policy/2016/029_outline.pdf
  4. Chugunov. A.V. (2009) Assessing the effectiveness of public administration and the development of e-government: international indices and indicators. – SPb., 2009. – 12 p. (Series "E-government and public administration"; Preprint No. 09.001 / NP prior North-West; Resource center of e-government and public administration).

Internet-sources

[1] [Internet-source] India is trying to build the world's biggest facial recognition system // СNN Business by Julie [https://edition.cnn.com/business]. 2019. 18 Oct. URL: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/17/tech/india-facial-recognition-intl-hnk/index.html

[2] [Internet-source] The website of the government of Moscow as an employer on the online job site superjob.ru [https://www.superjob.ru/clients]. /Date of issue 2019. 17 Nov. URL: https://www.superjob.ru/clients/pravitelstvo-moskvy-3138475.html

[3] [Internet-source] Internet portal of the government of the Moscow region. / Date of issue 2019. 17 Nov. URL: https://dobrodel.mosreg.ru/

[4] [Internet-source] The project of the mayor of Moscow to create a crowdsourcing platform. / Date of issue 2019. 17 Nov. URL: https://crowd.mos.ru/

[5] [Internet-source] UN E-Government Survey 2018 / Date of issue 2019. 17 Nov. URL: https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/en-us/Reports/UN-E-Government-Survey-2018

[6] [Internet-source] Federal target program "Electronic Russia" / Date of issue 2019.17 Nov. URL: https://digital.gov.ru/ru/activity/programs/6/#section-results