Facilitated by their increasing popularity, mobile technologies are frequently used by governments to improve communication and interaction with citizens. The use of mobile technologies for governmental or administrative processes has become commonly known under the terms Mobile Government or mGovernment. Smartphones provide various new opportunities to improve existing mGovernment services and to follow innovative approaches.
For instance, integrated sensors such as GPS receivers and compasses facilitate the development of context sensitive mobile services. Also, additional communication technologies like NFC simplify communications and facilitate an efficient data exchange between mobile devices.
On the other hand, several challenges arise with the use of smartphones that threaten to compromise the success of mGovernment. The meeting of security requirements is probably the most severe issue of smartphone-based mGovernment. Permanent connection to the Internet and advanced software management capabilities make modern smartphones vulnerable to various kinds of malware-based attacks.
The growing number of smartphone platforms and the achievement of user acceptance are further key challenges of smartphone-based mGovernment. The awareness of possible challenges and the development of suitable countermeasures to overcome identified issues are important steps towards a secure and successful smartphone-based mGovernment.
In this article we first discuss critical success factors of mGovernment and provide an overview of related work on this topic. By means of an assessment of various existing mGovernment initiatives, we then analyse the current situation of mGovernment and identify potential weaknesses and room for improvement.
This analysis yields smartphones as great opportunity to tap the identified potentials and to remove existing weaknesses. Although smartphones offer a great potential, several challenges and risks must be taken into consideration. In order to overcome these issues, we propose an action plan that allows for secure and successful mGovernment services.