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Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.

Karen Evans
Administrator of E-Government and Information Technology, Office of Management and Budget

December 19, 2006

Karen Evans
Happy Holidays to everyone and thanks for sending your questions. E-Gov is celebrating its 4th Anniversary and I am proud of what the Administration has accomplished through President Bush’s E-Gov Initiatives and Lines of Business these past four years. E-Government is a collaborative effort by our federal agencies. E-Gov is successful because of agencies' commitment to it, and I congratulate them on this 4th Anniversary for their successes. I serve as Administrator of E-Government and Information Technology at the Office of Management and Budget where I oversee Electronic Government and the approximately $65 billion dollars in Federal IT spending each year. Much has been accomplished and I am excited to answer some of your questions today.

Sol, from Queens, NY writes:
Do you feel it is a priority to supply govt. workers with new technologies which are embraced by the private sector (i.e. Blackberrys, wireless cards, etc.)? Although these products are proven to yield higher worker efficiency, does this increase in efficiency outweigh security concerns?

Karen Evans
Sol, that’s a great question and a priority for our Federal CIOs at each of the agencies. Mobile email devices are in use at most government agencies to help improve the efficiency of employees and many other new technologies are implemented on a daily basis. The government just as the private sector embraces new technology as solutions to improve service to our citizens. In fact, the US Government is leading the way in transition to a new Internet protocol called IPv6. As always with any new technology, we must balance the risk against the benefits received.

Kim, from Kentucky writes:
Hi Karen, It is amazing how convenient e-government can be. It can serve as a portal to answering just about any question that someone might have--it is not just about downloading forms. I wonder if a lot of people are familiar with these services, and if not, how can you go about getting the word out? Thanks

Karen Evans
Kim, Good question. We view E-Government and Information Technology as a great way to improve services for our citizens as well as an important way to help save taxpayer money by increasing efficiency of information technology systems. The President’s Government-to-Citizen E-Gov initiatives focus on improving access to federal information. is the Official Internet Portal of the Federal Government and provides important information on federal benefits. Also, the IRS FreeFile initiative allows eligible citizens to file there taxes online at no cost. Check these initiatives out at and help spread the word!

Rich, from Albany, NY writes:
The continuing push by private industry to boost productivity by information technology and other means has led to lower costs, in most cases, for consumers. Should we, the "consumers" as it were, of the government be expecting, even demanding, similar cost reductions?

Karen Evans
Rich, you are exactly correct. Citizens should expect cost savings by the federal government through the use of information technology and that’s exactly what we have been working towards. Our Internal Efficiency and Effectiveness initiatives focus on consolidating duplicative IT systems to streamline government systems and enjoy the benefits of economies of scale.

Marcus, from Princeton, New Jersey writes:
What initiatives has the federal government undertaken to ensure the privacy of its citizen's electronic data. So many agencies such as: the IRS, Social Security, Department of State, and the Department of Education hold so much personal data about millions of us, how much emphasis has been placed on privacy and security standards?

Karen Evans
The federal government believes the privacy of citizens’ personally identifiable information is a very important matter. The President’s Task Force on Identity Theft is working hard to recommend and implement measures to protect this sensitive information. Their initial recommendations have already been provided to the agencies for their use. Additionally, the E-Gov Act itself enhances the privacy requirements for agencies to implement Privacy Impact Assessments for online systems. This information is publicaly available so you can see how the agency is securing your information.

Gregory, from Torrance, CA writes:
Dear Administrator Evans: How does the Administration ensure that the information isn't hacked into? Or avoid the problems the Veterans Affairs Dept recently experienced? Thank you.

Karen Evans
Gregory, the Administration takes this situation seriously and works in conjunction with the departments and agencies to ensure best practices are shared as it relates to the system security. We also work with National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Homeland Security to properly respond.

Daniel, from Washington, D.C. writes:
Which e-government project needs the most work and are you satisfied with the results?

Karen Evans
We are constantly looking for ways to improve results. We have accomplished a lot and still have more to do. The federal government employees recognize the value to the improve services with all the different initiatives.

Daniel, from Great Barrington, MA writes:
How do you plan to expand E-Government and improve IT across the Federal Government? Thanks.

Karen Evans
Daniel, great timing on your question :-) Yesterday we just released our annual report on that highlights our efforts to improve services throughout government. The report includes our actual performance against our goals included in the President's Management Agenda. Utimately, we want programs to achieve results by using technology to its fullest potential.

Don, from Sacramento writes:
Ms. Evans: How is geospatial and GPS data being included in all E-Government and Information Technology plans and initiatives, and how is the Government keeping up with geospatial advances that private industry is now using.

Karen Evans
Don, this is a very important issue to the federal government. Through our initial efforts on the Geospatial One-Stop initiative, various efforts throughout the federal government have been consolidated. The Department of Interior leads the initiative and has partnerships with industry and state and local governments. Their efforts for developing agreed upon standards are available at Additionally, we launched the geospatial line of business taskforce to address a government wide solution for efforts going forward.

Cliff, from Brimfield, Ohio writes:
Administrator Evans: I have heard of the Democratic Government, the Rebublican Government,the British Government and etc. But E-GOVERNMENT. Sounds like some knew political party coming in. But I have a feeling that what we are doing right now on the internet is most likely the area of this E- GOVERNMENT. I know that being able to get on here and talk to our department heads and leaders is so exciting and informative. We are probably the only people in the world who are able to talk to our government directly in such a way. So I hope as E-GOVERNMENT Administrator I'm in the right area. Thank You and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Karen Evans
I agree with you that this is very exciting and this is e-government working live :-)

Happy Holidays!

Andrew, from Washington DC writes:
What determines how well an agency scores on the E-Gov section of the score card? Is it merely how well they have integrated the various LOB's or does it include other attempts to engage agency stakeholders?

Karen Evans
Andrew, engaging stakeholders is necessary for success. Agencies are measured on the basis of the results they achieve in several areas such as justifying their planned investments, securing their information, having a workable enterprise architecture (plan) as well as their efforts on the Lines of Business (LOB's).

Marlon, from Warren, MI writes:
I want to commend you on the way in which the White House utilizes the web. I especially appreciate the daily briefings, and the photo essays that are available online. I would like to know if the White House or any other federal agency has compiled information on how local governments can better utilize the web and how e-governance can be made more effective in our municipalities.

Karen Evans
Marlon thank you for your observations. We take great effort to communicate with the public and government at all levels. There are resources available for your use at the Federal CIO Council website, and at the E-gov site,

Catie, from Weston, Florida writes:
I heard the the government is trying to implement a single ID card for federal employees. Can you please tell me more about this? I heard there is going to be some fingerprint technology.

Karen Evans
Catie, I am so glad you asked this question. In October, all agencies began issuing the new standard ID card for federal employees and contractors. The President issued a directive (HSPD-12 which is available on line) for the agencies to improve security for our employees and facilities. These smart cards do include biometric information (fingerprints). The standard is also available on line at

Andrew, from Washington DC writes:
Do you for see E-Gov continuing in its current incarnation past 2008?

Karen Evans
Andrew, I like to say E-Government is Good Government. E-Government is a program that has become a proven concept these past four years and I suspect any future Administration would want to continue its success. Many of our cross-agency initiatives are becoming standard operating procedures for agencies and departments. I envision E-Government transcending Administrations due to results that technology can deliver.

Karen Evans
Thanks again for all of your great questions. There were so many, I couldn't get to them all, but I encourage you to visit to learn more about the President’s ongoing efforts to improve service delivery to citizens through E-Government & IT. Happy Holidays and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

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