Big Data in the Public Sector

Chapter by Ricard Munné in New Horizons for a Data-Driven Economy: “The public sector is becoming increasingly aware of the potential value to be gained from big data, as governments generate and collect vast quantities of data through their everyday activities.

The benefits of big data in the public sector can be grouped into three major areas, based on a classification of the types of benefits: advanced analytics, through automated algorithms; improvements in effectiveness, providing greater internal transparency; improvements in efficiency, where better services can be provided based on the personalization of services; and learning from the performance of such services.

The chapter examined several drivers and constraints that have been identified, which can boost or stop the development of big data in the sector depending on how they are addressed. The findings, after analysing the requirements and the technologies currently available, show that there are open research questions to be addressed in order to develop such technologies so competitive and effective solutions can be built. The main developments are required in the fields of scalability of data analysis, pattern discovery, and real-time applications. Also required are improvements in provenance for the sharing and integration of data from the public sector. It is also extremely important to provide integrated security and privacy mechanisms in big data applications, as public sector collects vast amounts of sensitive data. Finally, respecting the privacy of citizens is a mandatory obligation in the European Union….(More)”