Alliance defines e-gov ethics code

The electronic government industry is still so young that it has not yet

formed industrywide standards, but a provider of such services has announced

an alliance to establish a code of e-government conduct.

E-government services provider govWorks Inc. has partnered with Arthur

Andersen and American Management Systems Inc. to provide a "vision for best

practices" for the e-government industry to ensure public trust and to encourage

fair business practices. The company hopes that others in the industry will

follow suit.

"We've concluded that because this is a new field, there isn't the kind

of attention in the research community and capital markets — in an organized

way — to effectively ensure the confidence of buyers and users in the system,"

said Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, chairman and chief executive officer of govWorks.

Isaza Tuzman said some companies exaggerate their services and experience.

Other issues of concern include the use of privacy statements, the selling

of user information to third parties and hidden "convenience" fees often

charged to pay for World Wide Web portals.

The alliance's code of conduct has five main points:

* Adopt strict consumer-privacy policies that prohibit the improper

use and resale of consumer data to third parties.

* Disclose all fees and other costs associated with e-government services.

* Accurately represent the number and scope of e-government products

and services offered.

* Accurately represent corporate structures and affiliate relationships

that may affect vendor selection.

* Help bridge the digital divide and ensure universal access.


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