Towards A Model Warranting Data Protection in Networked Administration: The Shared Personal Information Area

E-government presupposes greater circulation of personal
information. Information management is an essential component
of government operations, and legislative trends in many
countries reflect this. There are numerous advantages to
networking activities inherent to such operations. It promotes a
individual- or user-centred approach, and facilitates co-operation
among a wide range of actors and stakeholders with different
statuses. It also accentuates the trend away from the hierarchical
model, and enables flexible specialization based on exchanges
among different sources of information.
The spread of operations into environments such as the Internet
requires a redefinition of the space in which personal information
circulates, since that space is increasingly virtual. We have to
review the notions that help to identify information that has to be
protected because it is private, and information that has to
circulate because it plays a role in public affairs or society, or is
needed for the effective delivery of public services. This requires
identifying the appropriate markers and indicators for protecting
privacy without endangering the free circulation of information
relevant to the public sphere.
The legal framework of networked government has to have a
transparent means of acknowledging information sharing, and of
disclosing, discussing and publicly assessing the risks and stakes.
Many electronic service delivery models presuppose that private
information is kept in an environment in which it is available to
other government bodies.
This paper presents the components of an updated framework
able to effectively protect privacy in public service networks.
Key components of the notion of a shared personal information
space are also described, along with principles for setting up and
operating such a space.
When data is in an information environment to which a number
of government agencies have access, privacy protection can no
longer be confined to restrictions on data collection or
prohibitions on circulation. Real protection requires strict control
of the conditions that have to be met by government departments
and other public and private authorities in order to gain access to
and use information. If we hope to make appropriate
improvements to the principles pertaining to privacy protection in
the wide range of government online contexts, we have to focus
on the rules governing the right to access and use personal
information. The notion of a shared space provides the
foundations for privacy protection regulations based on these

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