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Norway has the first Web 2.0 government

Sun Microsystems, the creator of Solaris, announced that the Norwegian government has deployed a combination of Sun hardware and software technologies, powered by the Solaris 10 Operating System (OS), as the foundation of its national rollout of the "eNorway 2009" initiative designed to provide the country's citizens with Web-based access and support for all government services.

Leveraging a reliable and robust operating platform comprised of the Sun Java Enterprise System, Sun identity management solutions, x64 (x86 64- bit) and UltraSPARC T1 processor-based Sun Fire (TM) servers running the Solaris 10 OS, Norway will enable citizens to have secure, browser-based public access to government services through a secure and personalized portal interface.

The complete end-to-end Sun solution allows the government to drive innovation and provide an online platform for citizens to vote, pay taxes, obtain social security benefits, register and manage automobiles, communicate with public officials and conduct other civic initiatives and services.

The use of Open Source Solaris OS will facilitate a strong ecosystem of developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) that can be leveraged by the Norwegian government as it scales the initiative and provides more services to the country going forward.

"It is an important goal for the Norwegian Government to make daily life easier for the population as a whole, and ensure security for future prosperity and welfare. This portal -- called "MinSide" -- will give a better and more coordinated digital service for the population, across sectors and levels of administration.

At the same time we get a more cost-efficient public sector," said Mrs. Heidi Grande Roys, Norway's minister of government administration and reform. "We want to ensure that each citizen is given a secure, simple and personalized digital experience when accessing and taking advantage of national public services."

Working with systems integrator Software Innovation ASA, the MiniSide portal will roll-out six initiatives that will enable secure, browser-based access to healthcare, tax, motor vehicle registration, social security, student loans and many other government services. The MiniPage Web site, part of the MiniSide portal, is based on the Sun Java(TM) System Portal Server that allows citizens to access services electronically using a personal, customizable portal interface with a secure log-on.

As a result, citizens can access a website that provides user-defined services with relevant information for each individual citizen available in one place. In addition, the Java System Calendar Server provides calendar capabilities that will help remind citizens of scheduled transactions, such as yearly registration or payments, and the Sun Java(TM) System Messaging Server Quick Start Service provides an e-mail system that allows service providers to communicate with citizens.

Securing A Nation

As part of the solution, Sun Java System Access Manager and Sun Java Federation Manager help the Norwegian government manage secure access to services by offering single sign-on (SSO) as well as enabling federation across trusted networks of government agencies, service providers and customers.

It provides open, standards-based authentication and policy-based authorization with a single, unified framework. This improved security framework is based on the Liberty and SAML standards to protect all aspects of the portal. Coupled with Solaris 10, the most advanced operating system on the planet, the solution lets Norway securely host thousands of applications and hundreds of services on the same system.

In addition, Solaris(TM) Trusted Extensions allows customers who have specific regulatory or information protection requirements to take advantage of labeling features previously only available in highly specialized operating systems or appliances.

"The Mypage initiative is a shining example of the vision for Web 2.0 and for the Participation Age. The Norwegian government has taken the lead in using technology to improve the prosperity and welfare for its citizens," said Jim McHugh, vice-president of Software Infrastructure, Software Group, Sun Microsystems, Inc.

"The use of the Sun Java(TM) Identity Management Suite and Sun Java(TM) Application Platform Suite marks a revolutionary approach to software infrastructure management that reduces cost and complexity in the data center and allows more open and transparent communication between the government and its citizens."

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.