Citizens & data

The past decade has seen an explosion in the amount of data produced and used by the public, companies and the government.

One of the promises of the new data economy is that the public will pay less for more tailored products and services. The data economy doesn’t only promise these benefits from the products and services that business offers; government could also reap similar savings, and provide more relevant services for citizens, if it both uses and shares data about citizens more effectively.

The impact of the data economy is deep and profound. Companies such as Google and Facebook barely existed ten years ago. Now many people take Amazon’s ‘customers who bought this item also bought...’ feature for granted.  Adverts follow us around the internet and companies we’ve had no contact with send us emails suggesting that they know us at least as well as our closest friends and family.

Data is also changing the way government works, if not as quickly or visibly for most people. Yet here too the revelations of Edward Snowden about the extent to which the security services are able to access personal communications raises significant concerns.

The data revolution has happened with barely any public debate or input into government policy, governance or regulation. Our work in this area aims to open spaces for the public and civil society to contribute to the growing policy debate, and ultimately ensure that their perspectives and views are taken into account by government and companies.

Photo credit: Paul L Dineen

The latest

Opening Policy, Protecting Privacy

Blog November 13, 2014 – Tim Hughes

How can government use the personal data it holds about us? How should government use the personal data it holds about us? With the rapid advancements in the ability to collect, manage, analyse, link, and share data, the gap…

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Data sharing open policy process

May 2, 2014 – Tim Hughes

This open policy process is intended to support civil society organisations, independent experts, and government departments to explore the benefits, risks, limitations and governance for sharing personal data within government. The Government is keen to explore…

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