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这个国家能建立全球第一个“数字化”政府吗?

更新时间:2017-11-23 19:55:59 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Could Estonia be the first 'digital' country?
这个国家能建立全球第一个“数字化”政府吗?

We’ve all been there: standing in an interminable queue in a stark government building, staring into space, waiting for what seems like endless hours to fill out reams of forms at the tax office or department of motor vehicles.

我们都遇到过这种情况:在威严的政府大楼前排着永无止境的队,凝视虚空,在等待中度过漫长的时间,然后在税务局或机动车管理局填写各种各样厚厚的表格。

How do you kill time during such a boring wait, only to do more boring tasks in a boring place? Most likely, it means scrolling through your phone, checking email, Instagramming, even tweeting about how you’re bored.

你会怎样打发这种排队时等待的无聊——尤其是之后还要在一个乏味的地方做一些更加让人感到无聊的事情?最大的可能就是玩手机,查邮件,发Instagram,甚至发推文表达自己无聊的感受。

So why can’t we just fill out all those forms (or run similarly bureaucratic errands) on that same smartphone? Why, in 2017, the year of cashless payments and fingerprint-locked gadgets and handheld video-chatting, can we not do all of our government-related tasks online, in one place and in one fell swoop?

那为什么我们不直接在手机上填写这些表格(或者办理政府机构的一些杂七杂八的事务)呢?在电子支付、指纹锁屏、手机视频聊天的2017年,为什么不能把所有要去政府机关办的事情搬到网上,在一个地方一次全部解决办妥呢?

In a certain Baltic country, you can: Estonia, the small nation of 1.3m nestled in the nooks of northeastern Europe.

波罗的海的沿岸某个国家可以做到这件事,那就是爱沙尼亚,一个坐落在东北欧人口仅130万的小国。

The same country that gave birth to Skype has been pursuing a 100% digitised society with laser focus since the ‘90s. Experts far and away agree that the country’s online government initiative – an effort called e-Estonia – is the world paragon for how a government can successfully and conveniently move the bulk of its services to a single online platform.

20世纪90年代以来,这个Skype诞生地的国家正在集中精力全面建设数字化社会。世界各地的专家都盛赞这个名为"爱沙尼亚在线"(e-Estonia)的电子政府项目是全球典范,它展示了政府如何将大部分服务迁移到一个更为便捷的网络平台上。

The e-Estonia website says the programme is “the evolution of the e-state”. Launched in 1997, it’s let citizens file taxes online since 2000 (95% of Estonians file taxes online), and allows Estonians to obtain medical prescriptions and test results, sign documents, even vote and allow foreigners to become e-residents, all online.

"爱沙尼亚在线"的网站称,该项目是"数字政府的演进"。网站于1997年上线,2000年以来公民能够通过网站进行在线报税(爱沙尼亚95%的人都在网上完成报税)。网站上还可以收取医疗处方和体测结果,可以签署文件。连投票,甚至外国人成为网上居民的手续也可以在网上完成。

“Today, the information is stored inside the country,” says Anna Piperal, a spokesperson for e-Estonia. “But we are working on a governmental cloud that will be backed up in Estonian embassies around the world.”

"爱沙尼亚在线"的发言人安娜·派普劳尔(Anna Piperal)表示:"目前,信息储存在国内,但是我们正在建立一个政府云服务,到时遍及全球的爱沙尼亚大使馆将为此提供支持。"

And they’re not alone. Finland, Japan and Cyprus have all taken cues from Estonia, either working with Estonian companies to build e-tax platforms in their own countries, for example, or borrowing the Estonian ID card system, which assigns each citizen a catch-all ID that can be used for purposes ranging from social security to voting to disaster response.

爱沙尼亚并不是唯一这么做的国家。芬兰、日本和塞浦路斯都在纷纷效仿爱沙尼亚的做法,有的与爱沙尼亚的公司合作,在本国建立线上税务平台,或者借用爱沙尼亚的身份证系统,赋予每个公民一个囊括一切的身份编号,可用于社会保障,投票或灾害反应。

“The country has made more progress than any other,” says Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institute think tank in Washington DC.

位于美国华盛顿的智库布鲁金斯学会的政府治理研究总监、副主席达雷尔·韦斯特(Darrell West)说:"爱沙尼亚走在最前列。"

An e-government programme packs a double punch in that it functions as a creator for tech jobs. Piperal says that e-Estonia pumps out technical roles to support the system, “just like any new industry.

电子政府项目还有第二个好处,就是它会创造技术类职位。派普劳尔表示,"爱沙尼亚在线"招聘了很多技术人员来支持这一系统,这就和任何新兴产业一样。

“We need more engineers, more designers, more testers, more programmers, and architects. More copywriters, more social media experts and more web developers.”

"我们需要更多的工程师、设计师、测试员、程序员和架构师。还需要更多的文案人员、社交媒体专家和更多的网络开发师。"

A number of experts on governance and the internet have shining things to say about e-Estonia, and credited the programme with being a trailblazer of its kind.

不少政府治理和互联网领域的专家对"爱沙尼亚在线"都赞誉有加,称之为该类项目的拓荒者和先锋。

“It’s a very interesting example – a very early example,” says Helen Margetts, professor of society and the internet at the University of Oxford and the director of Oxford Internet Institute.

"这是一个非常有趣的例子——启动时间也非常早的一个例子,"牛津大学社会和互联网研究教授、牛津互联网研究所(Oxford Internet Institute)主任海伦·马格兹(Helen Margetts)评价到。

Margetts says that “after the Soviet era, [Estonia] ditched legacy systems and started from scratch – they decided to be paperless. They just went for a neat solution which comes nearer than any other government.” (Estonia regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.)

马格兹说:"在苏联解体后,爱沙尼亚摒弃了传统的体系,从头开始——他们决心要实现无纸化。他们选择了一种井然有序的解决方案,走在全世界的前列。"(爱沙尼亚在1991年脱离前苏联,重获独立)

But we live in a world of constant headlines of data breaches, hacked Facebook profiles, stolen credit card numbers, swiped passwords, lifted savings accounts. Why should people trust all of their info being housed in a single, centralised (and potentially hackable, critics say) online platform?

但是我们生活在一个新闻常常报道发生数据泄漏的世界里,类似脸书(Facebook)个人资料被黑客盗取,信用卡号码遭窃,密码盗刷和储蓄账户遭窃等报道层出不穷。那么为什么人们要把所有的个人信息托付给一个单一、集中的在线平台呢?(据批评者称,这个平台还存在被黑客攻击的风险)

In 2014, researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a study that identified “major risks in the security of Estonia’s internet voting system” and recommended “its immediate withdrawal”. But e-Estonia says that the voting system has security in place to safeguard the integrity of votes, such as those state-issued ID cards assigned to each citizen that allows them to use the online services like online banking or electronic voting. And it says its blockchain technology strives to ensure “that no-one – not hackers, not system administrators, and not even government itself – can manipulate the data and get away with that.”

2014年,密歇根大学的研究人员展开一项调查,发现了"爱沙尼亚互联网投票系统中的重大安全风险"并建议"立刻撤回这一系统"。但是"爱沙尼亚在线"表示其投票系统有足够的安全措施保护投票的真实完整性,比如政府发放给每一位公民的身份证(通过这些身份证居民可以使用网上银行或电子投票等在线服务)。它还表示其区块链技术将努力确保没有任何人能操纵数据而不被发现,声称即使黑客、系统管理员、甚至政府自身在内都无法做到。

“Cybersecurity is a real risk when you have everything on a single platform,” says West. He points to 2007, an infamous crisis in which Russia waged what’s considered the first cyberwar on Estonia. Banks had their servers knocked out and cash machines were rendered unusable. As Estonian newspapers struggled to keep up with the chaos, “journalists were suddenly unable to upload articles to be printed in time”, reported the BBC’s Damien McGuinness earlier this year.

"当你把所有东西都放在一个平台上时,网络安全就构成了真正的风险,"韦斯特说。他提到了2007年俄罗斯曾向爱沙尼亚发起首次互联网大战,并造成了一场危机。银行瘫痪,取款机无法使用。BBC记者达米恩·麦吉尼斯(Damien McGuinness)在今年早些时候报道称,尽管爱沙尼亚的报纸努力及时报道当时混乱局面的最新进展,"记者突然间发现无法上传文章,报纸也无法及时印刷。"

West called the 2007 Russian cyberattack “the equivalent of bombing physical infrastructure and making it inaccessible to people”.

韦斯特把2007年俄罗斯的网络攻击称为"相当于对实体基础设施的轰炸,导致其无法使用。"

West also says that most governments have not embraced online voting due to cybersecurity concerns – despite increasing concern that Russia may have influenced elections in a number of countries.

韦斯特还说,由于对网络安全的忧虑,大多数政府还不支持在线投票——尽管越来越多的人担忧俄罗斯可能影响了数个国家的选举。

Still, e-Estonia’s Piperal points out that Estonia’s voting system has never been hacked or compromised, and that in an age of machine-based elections being hacked (such as recently in the US), it may be better to have one piece of software rather than millions of machines that were hacked in the end. Besides, you can cripple a government’s elections in a lot of different ways, West points out: fake news, disinformation campaigns, deceptive advertising, social media attacks.

不过,"爱沙尼亚在线"的派普劳尔指出,爱沙尼亚的投票系统从未遭遇黑客攻击,也从未瘫痪过;在这个选举机器被黑客入侵(比如最近在美国发生的事件)的时代,使用一个软件可能优于数百台机器遭遇入侵。此外,破坏政府选举还有很多不同的方法。韦斯特指出,比如虚假新闻、信息不完善的选战、欺骗性广告和社交媒体攻击。

But even if the benefits of an e-government outweigh the risks, could Estonia’s model even be replicated elsewhere, necessarily? How has Estonia been able to do it?

但即使电子政府利大于弊,爱沙尼亚的模式是否必定可以复制到其他国家?爱沙尼亚是如何获得成功的呢?

Experts say that it’s simply been a priority there – Estonia viewed an e-government as an important goal and they got it done. But it’s a concept that doesn’t always scale. Estonia’s a relatively small country with a population of just over 1.3m and a size that matches that of Belgium or West Virginia. (Still, Margetts points out: “Facebook has two billion users, and they seem to manage.”)

专家称,这在爱沙尼亚就是当务之急——爱沙尼亚把电子政府确立为重要目标,然后努力去实现。但是这个理念不一定能够推广。爱沙尼亚是一个小国,人口130万,相当于比利时或者西弗吉尼亚州(West Virginia)。(不过,马格兹指出:"脸书有20亿用户,他们好像还是能够管理好。")

Plus, comparing Estonia to larger Western countries like the UK or the US is an apples-to-oranges exercise. The British and American governments, for instance, are much more complex and byzantine compared to Estonia’s, with myriad departments and laws that may change depending on where in the country you are.

此外,把爱沙尼亚与英国、美国等西方大国相比是风牛马不相及。英国和美国的政府比爱沙尼亚复杂的多,不同的区域也有大量不同的政府部门和法律条文。

Never mind the fact that, the bigger the country, the tougher it is to erect a one-stop-shop digital society like Estonia’s. In a big country, you might have lots of people speaking lots of languages, which complicates things – it’s easier to streamline services when you have a place that’s small and homogenous.

更不用提,国家越大,类似爱沙尼亚的一站式数字化社会就越难建立。在一个大国,可能有多种语言并存,这会导致很多复杂的问题。在一个同质化的小国,精简服务较为容易。

Think of the IRS in the US or HMRC in the UK. “These are really huge organisations and they don’t want a small unit in the centre telling them what to do. That’s a problem in a very big government when you’ve got lots of legacy systems lying around,” Margetts says.

不妨想一下美国国家税务局(IRS)或英国税务海关总署(HMRC)。"这都是非常庞大的机构,它们并不希望有一个中央集权的小部门对它们发号施令。大型政府的一个问题是有很多历史负担,"马格兹说。

But if it can be pulled off, an e-government beats spending hours in a windowless government office and being barked at by an overworked desk employee. There’s a huge convenience factor for citizens.

但是,如果能够成功的话,电子政府会胜过在一个没有窗户的政府办公室里呆上几个小时,然后听过劳的办公人员大声吼叫。电子政府对公民来说意味着极大的便利。

And even amid an increasingly complex world filled with cyber wars and international espionage, the unrelenting digitisation of our day-to-day lives doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.

即使在一个充满了网络战争和国际间谍的复杂世界,日常生活的数字化脚步似乎也不会很快停止下来。

It’s the future, and experts say that there’s no reason to think that running a government won’t inevitably be yet another task that fully ends up on the internet, too. That’s why it could be one of the biggest ideas of the 21st Century.

这就是未来。专家称,我们完全有理由相信政府的运行可以完全在互联网上完成。因此,它可能会是21世纪最伟大的创想之一。

“Amazon is just a website, right? When you think of Amazon, you don’t think of buildings. Do you think of buildings when you think of government? You probably don’t,” says Margetts. “Government is just a website, really, going forward.”

"亚马逊就是一个网站,对吧?当你想到亚马逊时,你不会想到建筑物。当你想到政府时,你会想到建筑物吗?你很可能不会这样想。未来,政府就会是一个网站,"马格兹说。

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