Beside proposing it, I also have some doubts about transparency as new “killer value” of eGovernment.
First, I cannot forget that the very first episode of “Yes, Minister” was called “Open Government”. And it made fun about this rethoric – that was more than 20 years ago.
Secondly, I wonder if this is just for the people really interested in public affairs, which is not the majority of the population. Putting services online appears more concretely useful than providing information about the in-working of government.
Thirdly, it’s much more difficult to deal with for government than putting services online. It could make government ungovernable.
So I am not sure that citizens and government are so keen on transparency.
But I also have strong arguments in favour.
First, just have a look at the “The Power of Information” review carried out for the UK Cabinet. It capture most important points.
Secondly, transparency may appear not very concrete, but can be a strong driver of innovating public services, maybe the most important one in absence of competition. Just think what would be the impact of publishing the mortality rates of different hospitals.
Thirdly, government are not monolithic institutions. There are innovative people inside, including politicians, who want change and can use transparency for their advantage.
Fourth, transparency happens also outside government control. Citizens can publicly complain on blogs, and there is always http://www.wikileaks.org .
UPDATE: Fifth, government can benefit to better understand complex multi-dimensional problem by making data available for analysis by more people.