Transparent government, not transparent citizens: a report on privacy and transparency for the Cabinet Office

O'Hara, Kieron Cabinet Office (2011) Transparent government, not transparent citizens: a report on privacy and transparency for the Cabinet Office , London, GB Cabinet Office 84pp.


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1. Privacy is extremely important to transparency. The political legitimacy of a transparency programme will depend crucially on its ability to retain public confidence. Privacy protection should therefore be embedded in any transparency programme, rather than bolted on as an afterthought. 2. Privacy and transparency are compatible, as long as the former is carefully protected and considered at every stage. 3. Under the current transparency regime, in which public data is specifically understood not to include personal data, most data releases will not raise privacy concerns. However, some will, especially as we move toward a more demand-driven scheme. 4. Discussion about deanonymisation has been driven largely by legal considerations, with a consequent neglect of the input of the technical community. 5. There are no complete legal or technical fixes to the deanonymisation problem. We should continue to anonymise sensitive data, being initially cautious about releasing such data under the Open Government Licence while we continue to take steps to manage and research the risks of deanonymisation. Further investigation to determine the level of risk would be very welcome. 6. There should be a focus on procedures to output an auditable debate trail. Transparency about transparency – metatransparency – is essential for preserving trust and confidence. Fourteen recommendations are made to address these conclusions.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Related URLs:
Keywords: privacy, transparency, open data, open government data, anonymisation, pseudonymisation, deanonymisation, differential privacy, data protection
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Organisations: Web & Internet Science
ePrint ID: 272769
Date :
Date Event
13 September 2011Published
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2011 10:18
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 17:39
Further Information:Google Scholar

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