Report: Citizens embracing e-gov

People are beginning to see the value of interacting with the government online, although many still have concerns about the privacy and security of their personal information, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report, sponsored by NIC and conducted by Momentum Research Group at Cunningham Communication Inc., surveyed 406 online businesses and citizens about their e-government experience.

Among the findings: About 62 percent of citizens and 83 percent of business users surveyed had used the Internet to access government services or information. Although many users had limited their usage to information gathering, they expressed interest in specific online applications.

For example, about 47 percent of citizens said they would like to renew their driver's licenses online, 38 percent said they would like to vote over the Internet and 36 percent said they would like to access a one-stop-shopping site for government services.

The report also found that almost 75 percent of the citizens questioned would prefer to use their local or state government World Wide Web site over a federal government Web site when interacting with government. However, about 42 percent of business users would prefer to use a federal Web site.

Almost 71 percent of citizens said they would prefer to pay a service fee rather than fund e-government initiatives through taxes.

Trust is the most critical issue facing the adoption of e-government, the study found. Only about 35 percent of e-commerce users thought that the government would keep personal records private.

"People will have to trust that the information will be kept confidential," said Jay Shutter, president of the Momentum Research Group, adding that the growth of e-government also will depend on educating people on its benefits.

"Government should be the leader in e-transformation," said Jim Dodd, president and chief executive officer at NIC. "There is demand." Virginia, Utah and Hawaii lead the pack in terms of setting aggressive goals for e-government, he added. "Leaders will make sure that e-government happens."

The report is available at www.egovernmentreport.com.

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