The Role of Rights in the Transactional Civilization

Alois Paulin, 2011

Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government - CeDEM11, Krems,


Governing a society is the task of managing rights of the society’s members. This article focuses on the right as the most elementary entity of any civilized system and analyzes how such a system can be managed transactional using modern (web) technologies in a non-utopic fashion.


e-Government, Government as a Platform, Rights (concept)

The “government as a platform” idea, as most prominently advocated by Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly 2010) envisions the hegemony as a provider of infrastructure on which subjects can conduct their exchange of goods and services in a transactional manner. According to this idea, “Government 2.0 is not a new kind of government; it is government stripped down to its core, rediscovered and reimagined as if for the first time.” (ibid)

The rediscovery and re-imagination of government however requires a fundamental understanding of the “what” and the “how” of modern government and the capability of translating those fundamental elements into a form, which is controllable by means of modern technology.

Transactional management of rights

A pitfall of modern e-Government solutions is that they focus on only one single task or only a predefined set of tasks. Consequently citizens have to deal with heterogeneous governmental web sites that offer access to information or services trough graphical user interfaces that do quickly become obsolete, are frequently useable trough only a limited number of runtime environments (“web browsers”) and offer only a predefined set of services. So-called “one-stop-shops” are no exception in this regard.

Fully transactional e-Gov services are composed of a layered technological stack that encompasses the graphical user interface (GUI) – the web page/form the user interacts with trough clicking and layered electronic interfaces (EI; which are the used hardware and software components), which transfer, verify and manipulate the data according to a coded procedure. After traversing multiple EIs the user’s request (which the user created usually by clicking through the GUI) will reach its final destination as a record in an electronic database in form of a piece of information.


  1. O'REILLY, Tim (2010): Government As a Platform.
  2. PAULIN, Alois (2010): Slovenia 404: on the e-readiness of modern public administration. V: M. Mertik (ur.), The proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Information Society and Information Technologies – ISIT 2010. Novo mesto: Fakulteta za informacijske študije
  3. PAULIN, Alois (2011): S SecSS-om do učinkovite e-vlade / More SecSS for Efficient e-Government (in Slovenian)