Availability and findability of FOI and privacy statements on Finnish municipalities’ websites
Emneord (Nøkkelord):e-government, municipalities, FOI, privacy, trust, transparency
At the first phase 309 municipal websites were examined to see whether the statements were located on the front page or if there were direct links to them at the front page. If the website did not have FOI or privacy statement or a link to statements at the front page, then it was studied whether the statements could be found easily in the municipal website by making a simple search. At the second phase 38 municipal websites were studied.
The study resulted that FOI and privacy statements are non-existent on Finnish municipal websites. The study also revealed while there is sometimes an effort to provide information on municipal FOI and privacy practices, the information is scattered on the website and it is not easy to find. This is in accordance with the previous studies in other countries. Interestingly, long tradition of Finnish FOI legislation does not seem to make a difference when it comes to informing users about FOI and privacy policies.
Future studies should examine how aware are the citizens about FOI and privacy rights; whether the citizens trust authorities in handling information; and what are the reasons why authorities ignore to inform the citizens about FOI and privacy practices.
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