Global survey shows USA takes the lead in online government
Independent analysis shows that even the leaders have failed to deliver effective online government
PROVIDENCE, RI--Governments worldwide, including the US are not using the full technological potential of the Internet, according to a new survey published today by The World Markets Research Center.
The USA was one of only three out of 196 nations audited that scored over 50 percent in the survey, which was conducted for WMRC by Professor Darrell M. West of the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University, Rhode Island. Researchers at the university graded each country's online presence against 28 different criteria including, availability of contact information, publications, databases, portals and the number of online services.
Widely regarded as the global leader in technology and the Internet, the USA only scored 57.2 percent as the highest ranking nation. Taiwan and Australia ranked second and third with 52.5 and 50.7 percent %, with Canada and the UK in fourth and fifth positions.
The survey studied 2,288 national government websites in 196 nations. Among the sites analyzed were executive offices, legislative offices, judicial offices, Cabinet offices, and major agencies serving crucial government functions such as health, taxation, education, economic development, foreign affairs, foreign investment, tourism and business regulation.
The Internet is viewed as an opportunity for governments to provide government services and information more efficiently and cost effectively to citizens. However, the survey found that worldwide e-government is falling short of its true potential:
According to WMRC, security is the main issue stifling the growth of E-Government. A considerable boost in encryption and security technology is required before governments are able to make full use of the technological power of the Internet to improve the lives of citizens and enhance the performance of governmental units.
Once this level of security is achieved, E-Government could revolutionize the relationship between government and citizens, from simply offering live broadcasts of important speeches or events to more complex issues such as the payment of taxes on-line and on-line voting.
Commenting on the findings of the survey, Gino Ussi, Chief Executive of WMRC plc, says:
"We must remember that e-government is still very much in its infancy. The survey highlights areas that need attention like privacy and security, disability access and technology questions such as the use of search engines and portals to simplify navigation. E-government offers vast potential to improve interactivity between governments and their citizens, but it is clear from this survey that governments are still some way off maximizing the full potential of the Internet."
Professor Darrell M. West, director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University, says:
"Once security and privacy standards are agreed, there are a number of priorities governments should focus on to enhance the experience of the average citizen. Online transactions and voting are two high profile targets. During the March 2000 Arizona Democratic Presidential Primary elections, online voting was offered for the first time and resulted in a 600 percent increase in overall voter participation."
The full Global Government Survey is online at www.wmrc.com and click on World Markets Analysis. The study reports rankings for 196 national governments around the world and features profiles of individual nations in the Appendix. For more information, contact Professor Darrell M. West of Brown University at (401) 863-1163 or email Darrell_West@brown.edu or contact Michelle Wilkinson-Rowe of WMRC at 44 (0) 20 7452 5183.