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Mobile Certified Mail Project: Digital Transformation for Inclusive Society

‘Mobile Certified Mail Project’ for Public Sector provides an enhanced convenience to the public by enabling real-time visibility after an identity authentication of the recipient. By working with 60 administrations and public agencies involved in national taxes and social insurances, and platform companies that have 96% of South Korea’s population as members, this project contributes to promoting the public right to know and to strengthening social welfare benefits.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Each year, 460 million bills from administrations and public agencies are sent by postal mail to citizens. This uses up too much of the administration's capacity, with the national budget for mailing alone accounting for about USD 170 million.

In Korea, the number of smartphone subscribers is at 96.5% of the population. The country's ICT policy, which promotes a mobile-friendly environment and the 4th Industrial Revolution, has raised interest in the innovation of digitised government for administrations and public agencies, and has prompted the necessity of introducing Mobile Certified Mails for them.

‘Mobile Certified Mail Project’ for Public Sector utilises Korea's electronic document system known as the certified electronic address. It is a private-public collaboration project of private platform companies (Messenger-KakaoTalk, MMS-KT) that have 96% of South Korean population as members, and of administrations and public agencies that have the duty to provide notices on national tax, public insurances, and national pension. Platform companies are designated by the government as a Certified electronic document intermediary to guarantee the credibility of electronic document delivery.

Administrations and public agencies that are required to send out mails have the resident registration numbers (RRN, Korea's Social Security Number) of the recipients, and the private platform companies carry out the authentication process with the Connecting Information. This project identifies the individual, not sending address-based bills, but sending notices through mobile meaning that personal information is needed to identify individual citizens. Connecting Information is an alternative information generated by processing the resident registration numbers through the Identification Service Agency. As such, the utilisation of Connecting Information is essential for the Mobile Certified Mails.

However, Korea's Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection, Etc., which regulates the identification-related affairs, has no explicit basis for the Identification Service Agencies to convert the resident registration numbers into Connecting Information without the consent of the individual. Thus, conversion of Connecting Information by administrations and public agencies has not been allowed. In order to resolve this matter, KISA has consulted with various institutions related to personal information, and by utilising the 'regulatory sandbox', the representative deregulation system in Korea, KISA have paved the legal and institutional ways for allowing the conversion of Connecting Information by the Identification Service Agencies for the purpose of ‘Mobile Certified Mails of administrations and public agencies.’

This has led to the innovation of delivering notices through mobile phones, by converting resident registration numbers held by administrations and public agencies into Connecting Information and matching them with the Connecting Information held by platform companies.

The project aims to have the disadvantaged converge into the social welfare system. For example, this project has improved administrative efficiency and the convenience of the citizens along with applying to notices of the basic pension entitlement and to payment notices of the construction workers' mutual benefit fund for retirement.

The innovation of digitised government is in the beginning stages, but all citizens will be able to access information and the innovation will contribute to an inclusive society.

This project has advantages in terms of improving administrative efficiency and enhancing public benefits. The ‘Korea Transportation Safety Authority’, which collaborated with KISA, announced reducing the cost of notification by 67% based on 3 million notices, the processing time by 1/6, and resolving the issue of imposing fines amounting to USD 7 million with preliminary notice of automotive inspection by mobile each year. And through the Mobile Certified Mail Project of the old-age pension claim notice, in collaboration with the National Pension Service, 5 pensioners who have not been identified by postal notice for a long time got help to receive pension benefits.

Now KISA has worked with 60 administrations and public agencies, and about 2.6% of the average annual postal notices of the administrations and public agencies has been electronically delivered. This is in the early stages of the project, but the number of institutions using the Mobile Certified Mails and the circulation volume of mobile notices is expected to increase through the expansion of many organizations that have adopted the Mobile Certified Mails, budget support, and consulting with related sessions to get involved with the project.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

Several similar services had been released using mobile apps, but there are three major differences.

ㅇ Verification of distribution: The service verifies that administrations and public agencies have sent the notices to specific recipients accurately, by using the official electronic document relay system and Connecting Information.

ㅇ Platform neutrality: The service does not cause inconvenience such as the need to install specific apps for every notices, by utilizing the text service of mobile carriers that have 96% of the population as users and KakaoTalk, Korea's number-one messenger platform.

ㅇ User convenience: This service is easy to promote the number of users and the convenience for them because it is not a direct application by the recipient, but proceeds after giving informed consent.

What is the current status of your innovation?

This project started with the introduction of Mobile Certified Mails in 2017. Afterwards It has provided budget support for the introduction of Mobile Certified Mails in 9 administrations and public agencies until 2019. Moreover, KISA has collaborated with 60 institutions in the introduction of Mobile Certified Mails via a consultation regarding the project.

As of 2019, 260 organizations (cumulative amount) have attended the briefing session to introduce Mobile Certified Mails.
KISA will publicise the performance of Mobile Certified Mails, provide budget of approximately USD 850,000 to institutions that hope to adopt them, and expand the Mobile Certified Mail platform through the app service of Korea's top internet portal operator NAVER.

The expansion of institutions adopting the Mobile Certified Mails will contribute to the public's right to know and convenience, along with the innovation toward digital government through improved administrative efficiency nationally.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

This project was created by collaboration between public institutions and private platform companies, and is expanding its influence in major areas such as social welfare and transportation.

ㅇ Collaborators: Public Institutions
- Sending out 460 million mails a year

ㅇ Partners: Platform companies (certified electronic document intermediaries)
- Sending, Receiving, or Relaying the electronic documents
- Designated by the government
- Covering 96% of the population

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

ㅇ Citizens
- Enhancing convenience
- Inclusive society for the socially disadvantaged such as day workers, pensioners. etc.
- To prevent fines from failing to receive notices

ㅇ Public Institutions
- Enhancing administrative efficiency
- Budget saving

ㅇ Platform Companies
- Creating a new business model

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

According to a press release by the National Pension Service that introduced the Mobile Certified Mail in 2018, Mobile Certified Mails which amounted to 720,000 in the first half of 2018, expanded about 7 times to 4.96 million in the first half of 2019, and reduced the mailing budget of approximately USD 930,000.

Introduction of Mobile Certified Mails by central administrative agencies is expected to expand as Mobile Certified Mails will be included in the main agenda of Korea's digital government innovation promotion plan announced at the State Council in October 2019. The transition to Mobile Certified Mails of postal notices by the entire administrations and public agencies is expected to reduce the national budget of approximately USD 97 million and reduce fine dust of about 2 tons.
* Savings in mailing budget = {(USD 0.3 in mailing cost - USD 0.08 in Mobile Certified Mail) * 460 million notices}
* Annual amount of fine dust absorbed per A4 sheet: 0.004284g

Challenges and Failures

KISA has found it difficult to persuade this service to conservative administrative officials in terms of transforming the existing processes, and there were limitations for using the project budget and the certified electronic document relay system.

The team prepared the basis for the project with cost-benefit analysis and the basis for promoting Mobile Certified Mails (application for regulatory sandbox for identification information), and in recognition of the performance of the institution that adopted the project as trial, a budget was secured for the promotion of the Mobile Certified Mails system (USD 1.7 million in two years).

In addition, the system has been reorganized so that mobile platform companies can be designated as certified electronic document intermediaries, out of the PC-based environment. A Mobile Certified Mails service promoting environment was prepared.

Conditions for Success

1) Deregulation system
Since a legal basis for processing the identification information was required for the Mobile Certified Mails, the team has applied for the deliberation of the contents for allowing conversion of the Connecting Information by the Identification Service Agencies for the purpose of ‘Mobile Certified Mails by administrations and public agencies’, through the regulatory sandbox.

2) Expansion of service platform
KISA carried out the system reorganization of the government-designated ‘Certified electronic document intermediary’ so that mobile-based platform companies can provide reliable electronic document distribution services.

3) Diffusion of best practices
KISA has an expectation for the possibility of reducing the national budget and creating social value, continued persuading relevant institutions to improve the conservative environment for promoting the new services over three years, and expanded the number of institutions that have adopted Mobile Certified Mails.

Replication

Administrations and public agencies that collaborated with the team operated their own systems or applications, but had inconveniences such as recipients having to install these applications themselves or applying for them.

KISA's service has the advantage that the delivery of public service notices is high by specifying the recipient through the Certified electronic document intermediary designated by the government. It differentiates itself from the various Mobile Certified Mails services on the market in that it can prove the distribution of transmissions and receptions. It also has the advantage that it can be trusted by keeping all the contents in the server of the institutions that have adopted the service, but only delivering the link through the mobile platform.

At present, several public agencies are adopting the services, which can be introduced at any institution with legal basis for notification.
Studies are currently being conducted to expand the service abroad.

Lessons Learned

Many missions for social innovation, including digital transformation and the proliferation of AI, are given to government agencies like KISA. Before the team went ahead with the project, it thought about what can have great impact to the people, create social value, and increase administrative efficiency. The team searched for ideas using the system it operates. As a result, the Mobile Certified Mails service was introduced based on the Certified electronic document intermediary.

The team has realised the importance of inter-agency collaboration for market positioning of the service. Collaboration is important in many ways, including institutional improvement, pilot application, and expansion of agencies adopting the service. Collaboration with platform companies, institutions that adopt the new service, and with relevant authorities that allow the new system contributed to the spread of this service.

Project Pitch

Year: 2017
Level of Government: Other

Status:

  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

Innovation provided by:

Date Published:

18 March 2021

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