France - The Computerization of Society

Joe Stuart
Franch_flag_waving.gif Informatisation of France began with the report to the president in 1980 by Simon Nora and Alain Minc called “Informatisation de la Societe.” Though MIT translated the title as “computerization of society,” the authors do not support the use of the word “computerization.” The report estimated the growth and progress of computer technology as well as offering suggestions to keep pace with the changing world.The first step toward this goal was the creation and nation-wide implementation of Minitel terminals in 1984, allowing citizens to access government services remotely. Informatisation became a policy priority and in 2004, after the president gave a speech stating the government should be able to complete all formalities by phone or internet by 2006, the government released a policy known as the ADELE Programme that became the plan of action for creating an eGovernment and computerized society. - Joe Stewart


Joe Stuart
The ADELE project, gaining its name from the longer title "ADministration ELEctronique," established four primary concerns for effective implementation and a focus on 14 of 140 suggested services intended to simplify the lives of citizens, public employees, businesses, and local authorities. The four concerns of the ADELE project were to listen to feedback, make services accessible to all, establish a pact of trust with citizens, and be more effective while controlling expenditure.

Listening: The Secretary of State of State Reform introduced a poll in 2002 that is carried out annually to receive feedback from users of online services. Beyond the polls, the government has regularly consulted with the institutions involved, including local authorities, industries, health care providers, and the National Commission for Data Protection (CNIL). In addition, extensive testing of the sites and services are done regularly to find flaws as well as discover ways to make the system more user-friendly. Finally, the government has consulted with lawyers, sociologists, parliamentarians, and even philosophers to determine the social impact of the system.
Availability: In order to enable services to reach those in rural areas, the elderly, and those of low socio-economic status, the government has implemented a telephone information line to receive information on all government services; the government has networked all government service offices so citizens can receive information on an array of services in one office; the government has installed multi-service terminals throughout the country; the government has simplified language on official forms; and the government has expedited service by making the majority of official forms available online
Establish trust: Trust in the government is derived from the citizen's confidence in the government's ability to protect personal information, not be unnecessarily invasive, and act with integrity. In order to establish and maintain this trust, the government has not centralized personal details in one database; the government promotes anonymity where identification is not necessary; the government has not established a single identifying number for individuals; for access to sensitive material, the user decides by what means to identify him or herself, whether to use one identifier for all services or keep them separate; and the government has created personal spaces for users to keep track of multiple requests, submissions, and the like, but the spaces are not required to be used and the user can request the space be deleted.

Increase efficiency, decrease spending: The French government promised 1.8 billion Euros to eGovernment for the period of 2004-2007. This figure is comparable to other European expenditures for similar projects ranging from 1.42 billion Euros in Great Britain to 2 billion Euros in Italy and Spain. Going digital increases productivity over 30%, decreases cost as electronic transmissions are 100 times less expensive than paper methods, and reduces input error to 1/20th the previous rate.
Additionally, the ADELE plan calls for an electronic identification card that, once the individual's social status and identity has been verified, can be used for a variety of tasks including receiving a passport without providing specific documentation each time.
-Joe Stewart

Digital France 2012

Jazmine Allen

pont_concorde_2012.jpgThe plan, FRANCE 2012 suggests that there be an inter-ministerial delegation that will bring together the respective human and financial means that are now separated into different ministries. This congregation of governmental ministers would be called the ‘National Delegation for Digital Matters’ and they would be responsible for the governance of the Digital Economy. The ambitious plan has been delayed due to the current economic down-turn yet despite this obstacle, some politicians still have hope for reach the 2012 finish date. One of the main goals of the project is to provide universal access to broadband for all french citizens. In order to accomplish this the network they are using needs to be upgraded and be able to accomodate the massive amount of people who will be using it. According to Eric Besson, the Minister President Nicolas Sarkozy appointed to complete the development of the project, "[France is] now moving to ultra broadband networks and 4 million households will be connected through FTTH access by 2012."

Other aspects of the project include switching from analog to digital television- something the U.S. recently deployed, incorporating electronic cards inside of debit/credit cards to ensure security and the launching of the fastest high speed satellite. sand.jpg

TIMELINE for Digital France 2012:

  • 2009, Jan.: National Delegation for Digital Matters to be created
  • 2009, Dec.: Deployment of an electronic identity card to promote a highly secure e-signature standard.
  • 2010: Plan to launch the World’s fastest broadband satellite in order to provide access to rural communities and not previously serviced areas.
  • 2011, Nov.: Commitment to complete the switchover from analog to digital television broadcasting.
  • 2012: Completion of project. All French households have access to high speed broadband internet, digital television, citizens have more secure ways of making purchases, and the overall growth of France's computer technology in the changing world. - Jazmine Allen

Future Goals

Jazmine Allen

Previously, France was thought to be a nation that was not too comfortable with all of the changes taking place around the globe but as you see, France has been taking major steps to advance it's position as being a well adjusted country in an ever-changing global environment. These plans, the ADELE and the Digital France 2012, both are the steps being taken to improve their presence in a world that is becoming more and more connected.031708_191053-764578.jpg
The ADELE project wants to not only promote an accessible system for all citizens to have access to technology but is also promoting a better relationship between french citizens and their government. Having the support and trust of your government in a time where everything can be traced and can be copied and sent out and then stored anywhere is key for a society to continue to grow and function well. France has also put their money where their mouths are. They've spent a considerable amount of more money their their European counterparts that is dedicated to their technological advancement.
The other project France has been working on is the Digital France 2012. This project was announced in 2009 and has been progressing ever since. Programs include; creating a congregation of Ministers to oversee the uses and limitations of the plan, distribute electronic identity cards to promote security and launching a new type of satellite to ensure even those in the most remote parts of the country will have access to high speed internet.
The French government has been taking action in creating ways for the country to take its place in this new environment where technology has become power. They are developing ways to give their citizens more of a voice when other governments would rather take them away and they are embracing the new forms of communication instead of banning them or using them for their own benefit. - Jazmine Allen



Image 1: (Joe Stuart)
Image 2: (Jazmine Allen)
Image 3: (Jazmine Allen)
Image 4: (Jazmine Allen)
Image 5: (Jazmine Allen)
Image 6: (Jazmine Allen)