If the government had a minivan, it would not get to display many proud parent stickers on the bumper when it comes to its websites.
Federal sites scored next-to-worst in combined consumer protection, security and privacy protection practices in the 2017 Online Trust Audit & Honor Roll, an analysis of approximately 1,000 predominantly consumer-facing websites conducted yearly by the Online Trust Alliance, a trade organization promoting Internet development.
With only 39 percent of the top 100 federal sites making the honor roll, and 60 percent receiving a failing grade, the government sector only fared better than the FDIC 100 banks sector (which had 65-percent failing grades).
That 39 percent represents a decrease from the 46 making the honor roll in 2016. Only one percent neither failed nor qualified for the honor roll.
Honor roll qualification requires a composite score of 80 percent or better and a score of at least 60 percent in each of three categories: domain, brand and consumer protection; site security and resiliency; and data protection, privacy and transparency.
Following the Online Trust Alliance's analysis of email headers and web pages, government sites did exhibit improvements in certain best practices, including the adoption of domain name system security extensions; domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance; and Internet Protocol Version 6, among others. Federal sites scored well in some aspects of infrastructure security, poorly in others, while lagging far behind in the transparency and readability of privacy solutions.
Of the federal "Top of Class," HealthCare.gov was the top scorer in the government sector, and that Department of Health and Human Services site made the overall Top 50 Honor Roll along with the Census Bureau, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the U.S. Department of Eduction and the U.S. Postal Service store.
A congressional briefing about the results, as well as an awards ceremony for those spurring online innovation, will be held June 27 at 8:30 a.m. EST in room 2360 at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
An online briefing about the audit will take place June 29 at 11 a.m. EST (more information and registration can be found here).
The complete 2017 Online Trust Audit & Honor Roll report can be found at OTAlliance.org.