E-gov survey ranks Delaware, Michigan as best

A team of researchers at Brown University evaluated Web sites for the presence of a wide variety of features, including online publications, privacy and security policies, and digital signatures and credit card payments.

Delaware and Michigan emerged as the states with the most advanced e-government Web portals and applications in Brown University’s eighth annual e-government study released this week. USA.gov and the Agriculture Department’s portal also received accolades as the most highly rated federal Web sites.

A team of researchers from the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University examined 1,548 state and federal sites. The researchers analyzed 1,487 state Web sites – an average of 30 per states – in addition to 48 federal legislative and executive sites and 13 federal court sites. The research team conducted its analysis during June and July.

The team evaluated the Web sites for the presence of a wide variety of electronic features, ranging from online publications and databases to privacy, security policies, digital signatures and credit card payments.

During their investigations, the researchers found that people are being asked to bear more of the cost of providing online services. Seventeen percent of the sites charge visitors a fee to use online services, which is an increase from 12 percent last year.

In terms of online services, 86 percent of state and federal sites have services that are fully executable online, which is an increase from 77 percent last year. In addition, a growing number of sites offer privacy and security policy statements. This year 73 percent have some form of a privacy policy compared with 71 percent in 2006. Fifty-two percent now have a visible security policy, a decrease from 63 percent last year.

The study ranks the 50 states and various federal agencies on overall e-government performance. Using measures such as online services, privacy and security measures, disability access, and foreign language translation, the team rated the various state sites and compared this year’s performance to last year’s.

In addition to Delaware and Michigan, other states at the top of the list are Maine, Kentucky, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Maryland, Texas, New Jersey and Utah.

William Welsh writes for Washington Technology, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

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