Title: Privacy policies and practices in Portuguese local e-government

Authors: Gonçalo Paiva Dias; Hélder Gomes; André Zúquete

Addresses: Research Unit on Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies (GOVCOPP), School of Technology and Management of Águeda (ESTGA), University of Aveiro, Rua Comandante Pinho e Freitas, 28, Águeda, 3750-127, Portugal ' Institute of Electronics and Informatics Engineering of Aveiro (IEETA), School of Technology and Management of Águeda (ESTGA), University of Aveiro, Rua Comandante Pinho e Freitas, 28, Águeda, 3750-127, Portugal ' Institute of Electronics and Informatics Engineering of Aveiro (IEETA), Department of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics (DETI), University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, Aveiro, 3810-193, Portugal

Abstract: This paper contributes to the knowledge body by establishing the current situation in terms of need, adoption and advertising of privacy policies in the websites of Portuguese local authorities, and by collecting evidence of its compliance with privacy practices. Websites of all the 308 Portuguese municipalities were surveyed for the presence of privacy policies, the usage of tracking cookies and measures taken to secure user credentials. A conceptual analysis was performed on privacy policies to categorise their content. Results were compared with other international studies. It was found that only 26% of the municipalities provide privacy policy statements and many of those exhibit significant gaps considering the information that can be expected in such documents. Furthermore, evidence of non-compliance with the advertised privacy policies and the legislation was also collected. The presented conclusions are useful for both academics and practitioners in the areas of e-government, privacy assurance and local government.

Keywords: privacy policy; user security; trust; e-government; local government; Portugal; electronic government; tracking cookies; user credentials; privacy protection; privacy preservation.

DOI: 10.1504/EG.2016.080430

Electronic Government, an International Journal, 2016 Vol.12 No.4, pp.301 - 318

Received: 05 Dec 2015
Accepted: 02 Jul 2016

Published online: 22 Nov 2016 *

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