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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release December 17, 1999

Encourages Federal-Private Partnerships to Make Government Services More


Washington, D.C. -- Vice President Gore announced today two bold new initiatives to expand the benefits of the digital age to all Americans.

Specifically, the Vice President announced the signing of two new executive memorandums. The first, the "E-Government Directive", calls on federal agencies to use technology to ensure that governmental services and information are easily accessible to the American people. The second, the "E-Society Directive", calls on federal agencies to use information technology to help enrich the education and lives of all our citizens (see attached fact sheet). Under both directives, federal agencies will work cooperatively with the private sector.

The Vice President also released Towards Digital eQuality, the Second Annual Report of the Electronic Commerce Working Group, which details the Administration's accomplishments over the past year promoting electronic commerce and sets a vision for the future. Highlights include steps taken to protect consumer rights and privacy online, facilitate the growth of the Internet, and bring the benefits of electronic commerce to more people. Today's report may be found at

The growth of electronic commerce has outpaced even the most optimistic predictions and is now expected to exceed $1.4 trillion by the year 2003. During this holiday season alone, shoppers are expected to spend about $6 billion online.

The new initiatives announced today, however, take us beyond the commercial aspects of electronic commerce and challenge us to use technology to better society through improved health care, education, emergency response, protecting our cultural treasures, and improving government services and accountability to citizens.

"This Administration has been committed to promoting electronic commerce, helping open the door to those with good ideas and an Internet connection," said Vice President Gore. "But in order to meet the full potential of this new medium, we must continue to look ahead and develop new ways to promote 21st century commerce."

These two new initiatives, together with the directive announced last week on closing the digital divide, will be a central part of the Administration's agenda on electronic commerce for the upcoming year. The agenda will challenge both government and the private sector to find new ways to bring the promise of the Internet to all and move America towards digital equality.

Each initiative "moves us beyond the world of bits and bytes and into the fabric of our society," Vice President Gore said. "As we enter the new millennium, we must use technology to unleash the full benefits of the digital age for all our citizens."