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In 1995, RAND published a book exploring the feasibility and societal implications of providing universal access to electronic mail within the United States (Robert H. Anderson et al., Universal Access to E-Mail: Feasibility and Societal Implications). Among the nine policy conclusions and recommendations in that report were these: It is critical that electronic mail be a basic service in a national information infrastructure; it is important to reduce the increasing gaps in access to basic electronic information services, specifically, access to electronic mail services; there are no fundamental technical barriers to providing universal access to electronic mail services. This book explores the possibility for expanded citizen-government personalized electronic communication. Of particular interest are interactions between government agencies and individual citizens — interactions involving personal information, iterated communications between an individual and a government agency, and the use of a personal electronic mailbox for the individual. It provides an informal survey of current state uses of such communication, supplemented by two case studies of potential use. It also uses 1997 Current Population Survey data to update the electronic access trends in the United States that were highlighted in the 1995 study.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    The Medium and the Messages: Noteworthy Features

  • Chapter Three

    Case Study: the Health Care Financing Administrationand the Medicare Program

  • Chapter Four

    Case Study: California'S Employment Development Departmentand Its Unemployment Insurance Program

  • Chapter Five

    Security and Related Technical Issues

  • Chapter Six

    Citizens, Computers, and Connectivity: a Review of Trends

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions, Observations, and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Additional Information on Citizens, Computers, and Connectivity

  • Appendix B

    Where to Contact the Government

The research described in this report was supported by the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation and performed under the auspices of RAND's Science and Technology unit.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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