Less than a quarter of the population trust the government to protect their identity online, whereas most people trust their banks to do so.
A survey of 2,000 people polled by YouGov found that 70% trusted banks to protect their online identities, while just 23% trusted the government.
The government was, however, ahead of online retailers, which were trusted by just 21% of respondents, and ISPs, who were trusted by just 11%.
The survey found that 86% of respondents used their sense of trustworthiness to decide which organisations they interacted with online.
Computer Associates, which sponsored the survey, said the debate over identity cards, large-scale government computer failures, and reported technophobia among senior government figures – prime minister Tony Blair admits he is hopeless when it comes to technology – had damaged the government’s trust rating.
The survey also found that 65% of respondents would be uncomfortable with organisations running federated identity services, which shared their personal information with other systems.
Overall, 46% were opposed to federated identity services. Federated identity management systems allow internet users to use a single log-in process to gain access to different websites that provide different protected services and information databases.