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8 Case Study in Japan

In Japan, number of domestic subscribers of mobile phones, having been increasing year by year, was 128.21 million (up of 7.3 % of from last year) by the end of FY201115. The mobile phone is an important infrastructure to support economic and social activities and the daily lives of the people.

In addition, spread of smartphones has been progressing rapidly. Smartphone shipments in Japan in FY 2011 amounted to 23.4 million units (2.7 times increase year-on-year), accounting for 55.8 % of total shipments of mobile phone terminals16. Furthermore, since FY 2012, mobile phone terminals with NFC (Near Field Communication) functions have been introduced into the market.

The government of Japan, in “The New Strategy in Information and Communications Technologies (IT) Roadmaps” (suggested in June 2010, revised in August 2011 and in July 2012) made by The Strategic Headquarters for the Promotion of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society (director-general: prime minister), presents the following goals regarding programs to diversify methods to access administration services, concerning the renovation of the government portal, and to encourage people to access the governmental service: in 2011, deliberation, verification, and demonstration of methods for mobile access to administrative services with authentication from mobile phones; from 2012 to 2013, based on demonstration, to introduce, develop and promote services partially in testing areas based on the demonstration above, and gradual nationwide deployment; by 2020, realisation of highly convenient electronic administration services, namely a 'one-stop service'.

Based on the roadmap, for the purpose of technical specification review and technical verification toward the realisation of the underlying mobile access system for using Web services through mobile phones in the field of public administration, ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications conducted the “Project Promoting Cooperative Business Administration Systems (Verification of Ways of Improving User-Friendliness for Mobile Phones as Means of Access)” in 2011, based on survey and research results from the (Commissioned) “research and study of the diversification of means of access to electronic administrative services, etc. (research and study of technology for mobile phones to access electronic administrative services, etc.)” conducted in 2009 (Contracted).

As discussed above, mobile terminals with NFC functions are going to be commercialised from FY 2012. They realise both offline and online enclosure, into tamper-resistant devices (Devices equipped with an IC chip having a function to protect internal of physical or theoretical information), of service users’ personal information, in the form of authentication information such as ID/passwords, points and coupons, and enable the information to be read. However, at present, in order to store and use ID information or users information in tamper-resistant devices, it was necessary to develop and operate an application for mobile phones (hereinafter, “mobile app”) for each service provider. Also, users need to download and install separate mobile apps provided by service providers. In other words, both service providers and users face inconvenience when a tamper-resistant service is provided (Figure 16). For the purpose of creating an environment convenient for users, in which it is easy for service providers to provide and operate, we examined technical specifications to realise the mobile access system.

Figure 16: Separate application for each service provider in a tamper-resistant device

In order to resolve the difficulties mentioned above, system, that users and service providers alike could commonly utilise, was studied. In other words, it was studied the technical specifications of a mobile access system consisting of servers for storage and safe reading instead of each service provider and a mobile app utilised commonly for every service to store and use ID information in tamper-resistant devices (Figures 17 and 18).

Figure 17: Common application and unified mobile access server for all service providers

Figure 17: Common application and unified mobile access server for all service providers. Further, verification by experimentation with technical specifications etc. was studied. In other words, A: Examination of technical specifications for a mobile access system realising online storage and use of ID information and B: Based on the examination results of issue A, construction of an experimental environment, inspection of operability and user-friendliness from the viewpoint of both service providers and users, and verification of technologies.

Figure 18: Technical specifications for structure with common application

The outcomes on the difficulties mentioned above, A and B, are listed below.

A: Multiple service providers which perform writing and reading of ID information into and from tamper-resistant devices have established technical specifications for a mobile access system composed of a common app by integrating a mobile access server that securely sends and receives ID information with a browser. With respect to ID information, established technical specifications for handling are not only e-certificates but optional information, such as other members’ IDs, ticket information, etc. with a common method. To be compatible with various access methods depending on service providers, established the technical specifications that permit a common method (common protocol/API) of applicable to any of the public IC card system (IC card), public card system for mobile phones (flash memory type device) or Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC).

B: Used a mobile access server and common app within mobile terminals examined in issue A, constructed a demonstrative environment assuming virtual service operated on them, conducted function evaluation, performance evaluation, and evaluation by the users. The function evaluation revealed that the system examined in issue A had sufficient functions. The performance evaluation achieved performance measurement of the operation of the system using mobile terminals and confirmed that writing of ID information and point information in about 6 seconds was possible. The evaluation by the users consulted with service providers and users and confirmed the operability, effectiveness, and usability of the mobile access system.

Examples of the utilisation image of mobile access systems are: (1) writing ID information for certificates to mobile terminal-tamper resistant devices, (2) applying the administration for a certificate through a mobile terminal online, (3) holding a mobile terminal over the ministerial kiosk terminal (multi-copy machine) of installed at convenience stores and administrative bodies to receive a printed certificate. Another example is (1) holding the user’s mobile terminal over the mobile terminal of healthcare personnel, (2) after authentication, user's information (history of diagnosis and prescription) of is enabled to be displayed on the mobile terminal of the healthcare personnel.

In order to realise the services above, further experimental studies for overcoming technical difficulties will be conducted. The main topics for consideration in the future in light of the technology are methodologies of authentication of the issuing terminal when storing the ID information, such as an e certificate, etc. and scheme such as a mobile access system, considering the way of exchanging ID information between mobile phones and outer terminals, through local communication.

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