Bureaucracies are not always as open in the developing world, where broadband penetration is scarce and democracy tender. And yet some surprising models of e-government are coming from emerging nations. Computerizing old land records is jolting rural India out of the 19th century. Since 2001 the Bhoomi (“land” in Hindi) program, brainchild of Bangalore engineer turned administrator Rajeev Chawla, has scanned 20 million deeds held by 6.7 million farmers in the southern state of Karnataka, meticulously mapping property lines. Farmers can review their deeds at public Internet kiosks and download the crucial official property title that Indians use both as an identity card and as collateral for bank loans. In a region where land disputes represent seven out of 10 court cases and illiterate peasants often fall prey to powerful land grabbers practiced in doctoring deeds, the Bhoomi movement is “nothing short of a silent revolution,” says Srikanth Nadhamuni, an e-government pioneer in Bangalore. Authorities in New Delhi plan to invest $6 billion to take Bhoomi and other e-gov services nationwide.