With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing a record number of citizens to interact with the Federal government, constituents are still worried about their data safety in interactions with the government and believe the government still needs to modernize its systems, according to a Carahsoft study released May 6.

In a survey of more than 2,000 constituents who have had to interact with the government since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 23 percent of respondents expressed concerns about their information privacy.

“The results of this study have shed light on the primary challenges that constituents have faced, specifically since the start of the pandemic. Growing concerns with data privacy and security, the inability to quickly and easily find information and access to self-service should be firmly in the sights of any entity looking to meet, or exceed, expectations,” the study concludes.

Customer service also left something to be desired by constituents, with 40 percent have experienced phone wait times longer than five minutes and 39 percent have seen their mail delivery slow. A third of constituents found the information on government sites hard to find.

In addition to the 23 percent concerned about information privacy, nearly 18 percent expressed concern about the difficulty to discern between what is a legitimate government site and what was a scam. The poll was taken before the SolarWinds Orion breach was discovered, and the report states these numbers would likely increase if the study was given today.

“The Federal Government has a prime opportunity to embrace this new era of digital technology and redefine the current perception of citizen experience,” the report said.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.