Open data, democracy and public service reform

Mark Thompson at Computer Weekly: “Discussion around reforming public services is as important as better information sharing rules if government is to make the most of public data…

Our public services face two paradoxes in relation to data sharing. First, on the demand side, “Zuckerberg’s law” – which claims that the amount of data we’re happy to share with companies increases exponentially year-on-year – flies in the face of our wariness as citizens to share with the state….

The upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – a beefed-up version of the existing Data Protection Act (DPA) – is likely to only exacerbate a fundamental problem, therefore: citizens don’t want the state to know much about them, and public servants don’t want to share. Each behaviour is paradoxical, and thus complex to address culturally.

Worse, we need to accelerate our public conversation considerably if we are to maintain pace with accelerating technological developments.

Existing complexity in the data space will shortly be exacerbated by new abilities to process unstructured data such as images and natural language – abilities which offer entirely new opportunities for commercial exploitation as well as surveillance…(More)”.