Balancing data sharing benefits with citizen privacy and security

Main visual : Balancing data sharing benefits with citizen privacy and security

Government technology leaders understand their agency is now competing against private sector organisations in the digital brand they present. Every brand, whether public or private, is now inextricably linked to the digital experiences provided to citizens and consumers, and the best of these experiences drives the expectations for all others.

The general public understands the price to pay for seamless and easy service experiences is access to their data. There are limits to their willingness to share data however, as the Australian Government learnt while trying to drive adoption for its COVID-19 tracking app. Citizens are open to sharing their data across agencies and applications when they can perceive measurable benefits that outweigh the risks to their privacy and security.

Yet government agency data alone is proving to be insufficient for delivering the next generation of connected experiences for citizens. This is where we’re seeing the increasing use of data from commercial and third party organisations to create a more complete picture of a citizen – enabling the delivery of more connected and comprehensive services. 

In every geography, the low hanging fruit is usually found in the connection of services and departments to create digital arenas that offer value for citizens and businesses. Combining these connections with advances in AI and machine learning is already revolutionising government service delivery.

At the same time, this creates broader questions around the role of government, and the balance between the value and risks of sharing data across government departments and agencies. While governments are already asking these questions, citizens are likewise wary of overreach when it comes to government data initiatives. Considering the context revealed in our 2020 Technology and Service Vision, citizens have a range of concerns including: 

  • 70% find it difficult to judge if online information is correct and trustworthy
  • 72% are worried organisations exploit personal data without permission
  • 60% would not trust AI on its own. The final decision should be made a person
  • 68% are worried about the risk of cyber-attacks to social infrastructure

Citizens are entitled to be wary about data privacy and security due to the cavalcade of media reports about systematic governance failures in both the public and private sectors – not to mention the steady diet of cyber attack incidents that hit the headlines. So, how do government technology leaders go about building trust with citizens to continue sharing their data in new and innovative use cases

Digital innovation will be crucial for building the trustworthiness of data and real-time transactions between people, government agencies, and a growing ecosystem of AI-based intelligent “things” throughout society. Beyond trust between people (Trust 1.0) and the trust of organisations (Trust 2.0), we refer to this as trust through technology (Trust 3.0), or digital trust. 

We want to enable an environment where organisations and people can distribute and use trusted citizen data securely. Some of our leading priorities include effectively managing the identities of people and things that create data as well as strengthening data security throughout entire ecosystems.

We are working with government agencies and academic research institutions around the world to develop technologies that enable more secure distribution and utilization of citizen data. Fujitsu has an 85-year history of creating digital trust through technology-based innovation, and we’ve committed ourselves to continuing that legacy in an increasingly complex and disrupted world.