Data and the Government

by Ivan C
In the United Kingdom personal data is unsafe due to current privacy laws. Personal data is being breached due to the rapid growth in personal data collection. People’s information is stored without their knowledge and are unable to check the information to see if it is accurate. Current regulations cannot keep with the demand for personal information. For this reason breaches are likely to increase with the help of new developed technology for collecting, storing, and sharing data (Hall, 2011). On August 2011 the government started a public consultation on its open data policy on public sector databases.  It wants to create opportunities for businesses and the public to use public data. Doing so, the government will have the possibility to generate revenue by not allowing all the information to be available without a fee. But opposition says the economy would benefit more by allowing all the information to be free (Hall, computerweekly.com, 2011). The government will ask the public’s opinion and view on the following

  • Right to data, “establishing stronger rights for individuals, businesses and other factors to obtain data from public service providers”
  •  How public service providers might be held to account for delivering open data
  • How to make ensure collection and publication of the most useful data.
  • How far is the role of the government to stimulate enterprise and market making is the use of open data

In a survey of 1,048 UK adults one in ten trusted the government with their personal information. About 87 percent believed the government lacked reliable data security and 69 percent thought they had low regard for citizen’s privacy (Grant, 2005).

In my opinion, the government is doing well by asking the public for help.  If its citizens are able to contribute to data security and other aspects I am sure they will feel more secure, compared to the survey. However, I do believe that public data should not be sold for use. I am not aware of what is considered public data but I am sure that data can be used in a negative way. As for the government making money out of the data, I believe, if the data is safe, that it should but the government should show where the generated money is going to be spent. If the information being demanded belongs to the people, it only makes sense to use the money for the people.  This ties in to the class in which we have to see how databases are vulnerable. If we are able to learn and analyze other mistakes we will have a better chance to repeat them.

 

Works Cited

Grant, I. (2005, March 25). computerweekly.com. Retrieved October 14, 2011, from 90% of People Don’t Trust Government with Personal Data: http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2008/03/25/229967/90-of-people-don39t-trust-government-with-personal.htm

Hall, K. (2011, August 4). computerweekly.com. Retrieved Ocotber 15, 2011, from Government Seeks Public Opinion on Open Data Policy: http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2011/08/04/247519/Government-seeks-public-opinion-on-open-data-policy.htm

Hall, K. (2011, August 15). Government must change the way it stores citizens’ personal data, calls the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Retrieved October 14, 2011, from computerweekly.com: http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2011/08/15/247616/Government-must-change-the-way-it-stores-citizens39-personal-data-calls-the-Equality-and-Human.htm