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Data Sharing as a Program
Data sharing in the eGovernment setting has many different uses, such as combining information to provide more comprehensive profiles of citizens. It’s designed with goals in mind, such as child protection or the mitigation of gender violence. It has multiple applications throughout all sectors of the government, and it continues to drive policies today.
Despite its advantages, data sharing raises many questions regarding transparency and trust. It often leads to unaccountable duplication and merging of information for cost reduction or meeting short-term policy requirements. Failure to keep accountability structures in check entails significant risks, as some people may use it as ammunition for disinformation campaigns that aim to discredit the government.
Prominent Examples of eGovernment Data Sharing Program Concerns
Confidentiality and security are among the public’s primary concerns regarding data sharing programs as eGovernment software solutions. For example, China implemented a social credit system that acts as a collection of lists, legal agreements, and citizens’ ID numbers.
Social credit contains a complex and growing web of data regarding the country’s citizens, such as tax payments, court fines, breaches of regulations, and other legal matters. However, many individuals find that an offence in one area spills over to multiple aspects of their lives.
An example of why this program is concerning is that if they fail to pay a parking fine, the record may appear in a job interview or other applications. Without proper accountability plans and solutions, many unexpected challenges may arise.
Another concern about data sharing is that there is already a perceived risk regarding these types of programs. Those who cannot trust government agencies with their data are likely to change their behaviour due to their preconceived notions of data sharing, even in the absence of real dangers.
For example, some participants of US census data collection provide false names, citizenship, and dates of birth because of their fear of where the government will use their information. Other citizens may also outright avoid some services that ask for their details due to privacy reasons. A lack of transparency and accountability can have all these unintended consequences.
Building Public Trust in eGovernment Data Sharing Programs
Government institutions can focus on creating data infrastructure to promote accountability, which can then build and maintain public trust in data sharing programs. They also need to consider how their identity ecosystems can influence each other to keep certain aspects of citizens’ lives separate. Providing software solutions that thrive in plurality instead of an all-encompassing centralised system may be essential for the confidentiality and security of individuals’ information.
The public can also benefit from policies that are less data-hungry and maximise the use of available information. Less data collection would mean a lower risk of breaches and misuse. Furthermore, it can help if institutions are upfront about how they’ll use the data and have ways to deliver transparency and recourse throughout the process.
Invest in eGovernment Software Solutions
Data sharing as a program has many uses in the government sector, such as building upon past research or consolidating information into centralised systems for many policies. However, citizens may have concerns regarding this field because of the lack of transparency and accountability in many programs. Analysing the costs and benefits and providing solutions to current issues can increase public trust and further improve the field.
Re-engineering and restructuring your data sharing programs requires the expertise of professionals. If you’re looking for eGovernment software solutions, Informatics has you covered. We will provide you with assistance in reconfiguring your processes and propelling your institution forwards. Contact us today to learn more!
Written by Daniele Paoletti