E-Tunisia / e-consultations: solution architecture


 Continuation from the previous post - E-Tunisia / e-consultations: overview


E-consultations constitute interactive “tell-us-what-you-think” on-line services where ordinary citizens, civic actors, experts, and politicians purposively assemble to provide input, deliberate, inform, and influence policy and decision making.

Privacy considerations

  1. Only authorized person can actively contribute (i.e. add some text) in e-consultation services.
  2. The identity of the person may is hidden.
  3. The enrollment will include the identity verification.
  4. Further a person can hide his/her identity under an avatar.
  5. The correspondence between an avatar and the identity is secret, but may be disclosed in case of misbehavior. Example: Facebook.

Nomenclature of e-consultation services


Maybe this nomenclature is not full yet.


Question and answer discussion forums

It is a free form on-going thematic discussion initiated in a community of interests. Each contribution is named. A discussion may be closed (only within the community) or open for everyone (or even to the Internet). Examples: discussions in Linkedin.

On-line polls

A time-bounded questionnaire.

E-petitions or on-line testimonies

A person (or an association) initiates a formal demand to public services. Such a demand should start a process which should lead to a meaningful response. People, other than the initiator, can express their opinion (support or not) about the demand. Example: Reporting Damaged Roads and Paths https://www.contact.act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/22/~/reporting-damaged-roads-and-paths


A time-bounded nominee-only group open discussion on issues of public interest.

Editorial consultations

A time-bounded multi-authoring of a document or a set of documents. There are several options about who can edit the text. A possible option is that many people can contribute to the content via comments and small (editorial) group can modify the text to reflect those comments.

Use of the e-government platform

E-consultation services are applications implemented on top of the e-government platform (see chapter 5). The latter provides different common services for facilitating the implementation of such application and keeping the same look and feel for better user’s experience. Each application is self-contained, developed in accordance with platform’s rules and may evolve without causing negative effects to others. Number of applications within the platform is not limited.

Enabling the public-private partnership

Systematic approach to very critical IT issues such as authorization, data security, access control, etc. clears a way for re-use of available data. It will be possible to estimate how the disclosure of some of those data will effect to the level of protection of remaining data.

Ability to open some data makes possible to employ private investments for improving some applications (it is considered that all applications are developed mainly by centralized capital investments).

Such investment attraction should be estimated for each application.

The big picture of e-government platform

E-consultation services are e-government services. The e-government (as one of its functions) provides (via ICT) to partners (citizens, enterprises, associations, etc.) the governmental services. To introduce the e-government without disturbances to existing governmental applications, it is proposed to position the e-government is a layer between the partners and the existing governmental applications (as shown in figure below).

The partners-facing part of the e-government is a collaborative extranet which is similar to popular social networking tools (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and e-banking. Its main functionalities are the following:
  • secure repository for short messages, documents, and video;
  • dedicated (including role-based) information and functionality;
  • diverse services as small pluggable applications,
  • direct channel to the governmental business processes; and
  • unified view of central, regional and local governments.

The government-facing part of the e-government is the integration and coordination capabilities which are necessary to fulfill needs of partners.

Important that the whole e-government is separated from the existing governmental environment. This separation means operational and evolution independence.
The common functionality of the e-government platform is presented below.

Expected advantages:
  • Quick implementation
  • Easier maintenance
  • Explicit security
  • Uniformity for the users

Implementation principles

  • Keep the conceptual integrity.
  • Take into account socio-technical aspects, because how you do something is sometimes more important than what you do.
  • Unity the infrastructure and reach different mobile tools
  • Systematically use open source software
  • Provide security at the level of private banking
  • Ruthlessly validate the implementation by international experts and hacker groups and political parties
  • Develop agile and deploy step-by-step within the common architecture
  • Guaranty the total traceability and records management
  • Exchange by electronic documents

Infrastructure implications

To cover the population, it is necessary to establish a network of social computing centres. The latter may be located at local community premises (e.g. a public library, “hotel de ville”, etc.). Those centres may also provide wireless access points.

Possible next actions

  1. Validate of this architecture
  2. Organise wide consultations with all involved partners
  3. Solicit the feedback from international experts
  4. Launch the feasibility study


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