As they put more services online, governments must do more to earn -- and might we say, deserve -- citizens' trust, according to a European Commission research body with the unfortunate name of cc:eGov.
Profound words indeed, since the U.K tax agency is trying to reassure citizens after losing the personal information of 25 million people.
Frank Wilson, author of the report, warns that encountering government on Web sites does not engender the same trust as more traditional means. He wrote:
People learn to trust others through experience, and through judgment based on both direct and referred experience.
He called for a clear "pact" between citizens and government that clearly states what will be done with information people provide, and exactly what will happen if data is lost or things go wrong.