The eRomania e-government portal, the most expensive website financed so far by the Romanian state, was launched for public testing on December 23, 2013, and has already come under the scrutiny of experts from the GPeC (eCommerce Prize Gala).
eRomania was the name of an e-government project that was estimated at EUR 500 million between 2010 and 2013. By the end of 2012, EUR 8 million had already been paid.
“At the moment of the launch, the portal includes information about all the administrative- territorial units in Romania, (3,188 units), including over 24,000 photographs, 150,000 articles and over 60,000 text pages, placed at the disposal by the supplier Omnilogic from its own sources and open sources,” according to a press release from the Ministry of Information Society.
The testing period will last until March 31, 2014, according to the Ministry.
Each of the team of experts of the GPeC (eCommerce Prize Gala) tested the website for 3 hours and eRomania got an average score of 3.72 points out of a maximum of 10.
The team made up of Andrei Radu, Liviu Taloi, Bogdan Manolea and Andrei Avadanei gave the verdict judging from criteria such as the general feel of the website, the main page, the category page, the search, the content page/article, signup/login, the page that confirms that the account was created via e-mail, legal aspects, security and SEO.
The portal comes with certain serious security gaps, according to one of the testers.
“Even though minimum security measures were taken by integrating a firewall and adopting a paid solution for building the website, the most popular vulnerabilities were not taken into account in eRomania’s case. Therefore, without even carrying out a security test, numerous security issues at medium and high level could be identified,” said Andrei Avadanei from WorldIT.info
Experts go as far as to say the portal is not user-friendly.
“The way in which it was conceived makes it inaccessible to simple citizens, who do not understand the technical jargon and don’t have much experience with the internet. Through the cumbersome way in which it functions, it annuls the purpose for which it was created,” pointed out Liviu Taloi, co-founder at www.ECOMpedia.ro.
As far as the legal matters are concerned, Bogdan Manolea, co-initiator at Trusted.ro, says that eRomania does not respect even the legislation passed by the Ministry of Information Society that requires complete identification entries for any website, not to mention the personal data protection or the need for accessibility of a public administration website,” he explained.
“Unfortunately, eRomania is a website that does not come up to expectations, and especially to those regarding the investment in the project (…) Leaving aside the usability issues or the lack of intuitive structure of the information, I think the worst is that the project- in its current stage- does not fulfill its declared purpose- to be a portal of participative democracy which requires constant interaction with the user,” said Andrei Radu, founder of eCommerce Prize Gala.
The conclusions of the audit have already been sent to the Ministry of Information Society which replied that within 15 days, they will receive answers regarding all the points made in the report.
According to a pres release from the Ministry of Information Society, “the eRomania project was developed by Omnilogic based on a contract signed in 2010, in total value of RON 52,057,628, VAT included, (EUR 11.5 million). In 2010 and 2011 were paid to the supplier equal installments of RON 17,352,542, VAT included (EUR 3.8 million). In 2012, the sum of RON 2,560,193.57 (EUR 569,048) was paid. Up to the moment, in 2013, no payment was made, but the sum of RON 3,526,000, VAT included, (EUR 783,649 million) will be paid by the end of the year provided the launch of the application is made in optimum technical conditions and Omnilogic pays the penalties of RON 528,086.86 (EUR 117,389) owed for failing to deliver the application on time which are due for 2013. In total, including the sum for 2013, Omnilogic will pay penalties of RON 1,625,657.52 (EUR 361,372).”