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"Who we believe"

When it comes to keeping personal information confidential, people generally have the most trust in organizations that they deal with on a daily basis, according to survey results released this week.

The Privacy Trust Survey, conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by the CIO Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, found that health care providers and banks received the highest results, and the U.S. Postal Service was the highest-ranked government entity.

Web retailers and the Homeland Security Department were among those at the bottom of the list.

"While technology has become the great enabler of data collection and utilization, one of the biggest responsibilities an information executive has is balancing the risks of what to collect and why, and how to use the information after it's collected," said Bill Ferguson, executive director of the CIO Institute.

Federal Computer Week, in partnership with the Pew Internet & American Life Project, released a similar survey in September, which found that citizens do trust DHS and other federal agencies as conventional media to provide reliable homeland security information.

The Ponemon and CIO Institutes have already started another survey, the Privacy Trust Government Survey, which will examine consumers' perceptions of more than 20 government agencies.

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