Coalition Forming to Set E-Gov Privacy Standards

Coalition Forming to Set E-Gov Privacy Standards

By Gail Repsher, Staff Writer

JUNE 2 ? A new coalition of state and local government technology leaders will work to establish privacy standards for government services provided via the Internet, the National Information Consortium Inc. announced this week.

"There are no standards that currently exist on a national basis for e-government portals or applications," said NIC spokesman Rich Phillips. "There are some significant privacy initiatives under way, but we need to find a way to talk to each other and set standards that are consistent with preserving the public trust."

NIC of Overland Park, Kan., manages portals and Web sites for about a dozen states. The private company is spearheading creation of the eGovernment Web Privacy Coalition, but expects two-thirds of its 15 members to be from government, Phillips said.

"We believe government has to lead [the coalition]. Government has a mandate to protect the public trust," he said.

Those 10 government members are expected to be chosen by mid-June, Phillips said. Along with NIC, other private-sector members include Cisco Systems Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Digital Signature Trust Co. and Oracle Corp.

The first coalition meeting will be July 12 in Washington. Its work will include establishing minimum standards for privacy, confidentiality and preserving the public trust in using information collected and created by government.

It also will create an independent organization to develop and oversee a voluntary certification program for state and local government Web portals and e-government applications. The organization will develop a privacy seal for portals and applications that meet the coalition's privacy standards.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation, a Washington think tank that analyzes state e-government efforts, will advise the coalition.

Organizations interested in contributing to the coalition can contact Kara LaPierre, NIC director of e-government initiatives, at (301) 938-0282.

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