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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release September 22, 2000

PRESIDENT CLINTON LAUNCHES FIRSTGOV: A SINGLE, EASY-TO-USE WEBSITE FOR GOVERNMENT SERVICES AND INFORMATION

September 22, 2000

Today, in an Internet address to the nation, President Clinton will announce the launch of FirstGov -- the first-ever U.S. Government web site that will provide the public with easy, one-stop access to all federal government on-line information and services. This website - located at www.firstgov.gov - provides a single online information portal that will connect Americans with information and resources from all 27 million federal agency web pages, one of the largest and most useful collection of web pages in the world. A breakthrough in one-stop shopping for government services, FirstGov will allow citizens to search all on-line U.S. Federal Government resources from one site, conduct searches faster and more efficiently by topic rather than by agency, and have easy access to federal government information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Last June, the President first announced the concept of FirstGov in his first-ever webcast address to the nation, challenging government and industry to finish its creation within 90 days. Today, exactly 90 days later, the President is announcing the launch of this site. Building on President Clinton's and Vice President Gore's efforts to expand citizen access to online government, FirstGov will cut red tape, make government more responsive to the needs of citizens, and expand opportunities for participation in our democracy.

CITIZENS CAN SEARCH ALL FEDERAL ONLINE RESOURCES FROM ONE SITE. FirstGov brings the U.S. government closer to the American people -- giving users one-stop access to crucial government information and services. With the convenience of a single website, citizens can use FirstGov to apply for student loans, plan for retirement, track Social Security benefits and get advice on buying a first home or starting a small business. But, FirstGov does not only provide access to information affecting major life decisions. Citizens also can go to FirstGov to reserve a campsite in a national park, arrange to watch a NASA shuttle launch, conduct research at the Library of Congress or take an architectural tour of the National Gallery of Art. Whether citizens want to plan a vacation, or an education, FirstGov can connect them to the information and resources they need.

CITIZENS CAN SEARCH FOR BASIC INFORMATION FASTER AND MORE EFFICIENTLY. With a powerful search engine developed and donated by Internet entrepreneur Eric Brewer, FirstGov allows users to search all 27 million Federal agency web pages at one time. And it has plenty of room to grow. It can search half a billion documents in less than one-quarter of a second and handle millions of searches a day. To increase efficiency, FirstGov allows citizens to find information intuitively -- by subject or by keyword. Customer-focused and easy to use, FirstGov makes the government more responsive to citizens' needs and expands their opportunity to participate in our democracy. And this is just the beginning. With the use of a citizen's feedback page, FirstGov will continue to improve, becoming more efficient and customer friendly.

CITIZENS HAVE ACCESS TO A GOVERNMENT THAT IS ALWAYS OPEN ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. FirstGov gives users free access to government information and services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week -- cutting red tape, improving efficiency and saving taxpayers' time and money. Also, FirstGov protects its users with strong privacy standards that safeguard their on-line communications and transactions with the government. FirstGov will not track or record personal information about individuals and their visits, unless the user chooses to provide such information.

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