Want a chance to tell the federal government what you think of it? And take a practice ride on the information superhighway at the same time?
You can do so for free for the next two weeks, starting today, at 362 public libraries, schools, offices and stores across the nation.
To encourage citizens to take part in the new information age technology, the government is sponsoring a National Electronic Open Meeting from today to May 14. It's sort of a nationwide electronic suggestion box.
For example, you can tell the Social Security Administration whether it should deposit benefit checks in bank accounts electronically.
Or, you can say whether you think it's a good idea to get your driver's license from an electronic ATM machine.
"We want to hear from the American people about what they want," said Larry Irving, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information.
"We want to hear from folks outside the [Washington] Beltway about how they want to receive government services and information, and how they want to interact with government officials in the information age," Mr. Irving said.
Bruce McConnell, chief of information and technology policy at the Office of Management and Budget, said the Clinton administration is trying to use electronic technology "to make government work better and cost less."
During the two weeks, experts will host five electronic discussion groups on topics related to "people and their government in the information age."
The five topics are:
* Government services, such as emergency help, health care and business licenses.
* Government benefits, including Social Security, food stamps and grants to small business.
* Government information, from declassifying secrets to making Census data more available.
* Participatory democracy, helping people take part in shaping government policies and regulations.
* Information technology, such as how to ensure security and reliability on electronic networks.
The incoming messages will be analyzed and a report published later this year.
To find public access sites in your area, call (800) 881-6842.
In addition, Kinko's, the nationwide copying chain, will allow access at 114 of its stores. Call (800) 254-6567 for locations.
People who own a personal computer and a modem can also join in directly by dialing (800) 779-3272.
Those who already have access to the Internet or an on-line service like America Online or Prodigy can send an e-mail message to "info(at)meeting.fedworld.gov."
For those with a World Wide Web browser, the address is "http://meeting.fedworld.gov."