Government to government is a communications system used to facilitate exchanges of information within a government and between governments. It is a noncommercial application of the Internet, designed to assist governments with a variety of tasks. In addition, governments use other communications systems to work directly with citizens and businesses; an example of a government to citizen communications system is the online renewal for driver's licenses offered by many departments of motor vehicles around the world.
In an internal facing government to government system, communication is enabled within a government between various departments and agencies and within individual government organizations. Facilitating electronic communications can streamline government activities, increase efficiency, and be environmentally friendly, as it will cut down on use of paper and other resources. It can also limit errors, as electronic storage of data allows for rapid transmission of information without errors made during transcription or interpretation of information.
An external facing government to government system allows agencies, governments, and departments to interact internationally. Many law enforcement agencies have access to external facing government to government communications for the purpose of issuing and looking up international warrants, tracking national security targets, and exchanging information with overseas law enforcement personnel. This can increase efficiency of operations ranging from drug interdiction to extradiction.
Development of such systems requires establishing stable, easy to use systems that can ideally be implemented on existing government equipment, in addition to securing the data transmitted through such systems. Government to government communications can contain personal confidential information as well as data important to national security and information that could potentially threaten the stability of government organizations. Releasing information about planned drug raids, for example, would make law enforcement agencies vulnerable to attack.
Companies with contracts to build and maintain such systems usually need to have security clearances for their employees and some government agencies design their own systems internally, using their already cleared information technology personnel. Internal design can protect the integrity of the information transmitted and stored in such systems, but personnel working within a government agency may lack access to the latest thinking on design, development, and implementation of computer systems, a potential drawback.
Government employees typically access government to government systems with a username and password and the system may be divided into layers of security. Depending on the level of access an individual employee has been granted, certain sections of the system may be closed or may display only limited information.