[MyData & Open Data] Invitation Open Data & Privacy in Berlin, Feb 12 from 10-5 pm

Julia Manske jmanske at mailbox.org
Mon Feb 1 16:14:21 UTC 2016

Dear all,

We are organising a workshop on Open Data and Privacy in Berlin on Feb 12th (you can find the invite below and attached).

Please let me know if you want to join the discussion.

Workshop Invitation -- Open Data and Privacy: Moving forward

Feb 12, 2016; 10am - 5pm, SNV Berlin

Open data offers huge opportunities to make governments more accountable and provide innovative, new services to citizens. However, as numerous studies show, citizens distrust the collection, use and dissemination of data by corporations and governments. The main reason is their concern about privacy. While privacy is not necessarily new on the Open Data agenda, the Snowden revelations have made privacy a focal point in public discussions about technology and data. And with increasing automatization and new methods to share and use data from different sources, the risk to harm individuals’ privacy is increasing. This challenges the “open by default” mantra, embraced by Open Data experts, and requires new approaches to protect privacy.

At the same time, data protection is often cited as the reason for reluctance towards genuine Open Government approaches. What is needed is a new middle ground: a careful process to define standards for privacy protection in public sector data management. Effective frameworks that help us balance the Right to Information, Innovation and the Right to Privacy would actually strengthen the Open Government agenda.

 In the recent past, increasing awareness lead to valuable research in this area[1], and the issue of privacy found its way into the agenda of open data events[2]. However, we are still at the beginning and many questions remain. Terms are often used vaguely, and it remains unclear which kind of data sets lead to privacy problems. We also need a better understanding of strengths and weaknesses of the different tools that can help us to better protect privacy. The following questions will shape the discussions at the workshop.

●      How can we integrate privacy in Open Government policies in the big data era, where (government) data flows across sectors and is used by an increasing number of actors?

●      What can we learn from current Open Data practices in different EU countries?

●      What are standards and frameworks for privacy protection and how could those be applied to Open Government practices?

●      What are implications of current technical and legal developments (i.e. re-identification, blockchain technology, the GDPR)?

●      What can we learn from research in that area, and how can we implement the conclusions given in this research?

With a small number of experts we would like to focus on current technical, legal and political challenges and solutions to address the tensions between Open Data and Privacy. We would like to explore the privacy concerns that have emerged across the global community of open data practice, and foster a conversation between privacy experts and open data advocates. Our larger goal beyond the workshop is to develop a vision and discuss the basic elements for a common (European) approach for open data and privacy.

About the Open Data & Privacy Project

Data-driven innovations are changing our daily life -- from media and communications to education and healthcare. Data technologies are disrupting established industries as well, including transportation, retail commerce, energy and even sports. The same is or will be true for governments. Many governments, including Germany, are only beginning to explore the potential of opening up the data they collect to improve government services, to make evidence-based policies, and to encourage civic participation. Open government data allows stakeholders to engage with the data and work with government to help build solutions for local needs.

But with increased digitization, there are new risks to personal privacy, especially in large and combined data sets. Anonymization of personally identifiable information in open data sets is standard practice, but policy-makers must now be aware of the potential for de-anonymization algorithms. And after the shock of the NSA revelations, the benefits of big data as a resource for open government are simultaneously seen as a threat since they could be used for social control. Therefore, we need frameworks that allow opening data without compromising the protection of personal data. Germany can offer a strong contribution and play a leadership role at the intersection of open data and privacy. As a result of German history in the 20th century, a strong commitment to privacy and data protection is a core part of the political culture. In this sense, a distinctly German deliberation on these issues offers a unique gateway for the development of international Open Government and Privacy standards.

This cross-sectoral policy project is multi-faceted. It seeks to promote Open Government practice and offers analysis of the potential of data disclosure to improve government services and foster innovation in Germany. But we will also develop new frameworks to incorporate privacy issues in the design of Open Government process. After developing a set of ideas among the German open data and data privacy communities, the project will engage the international open data community in discussions about its work.


About SNV: http://www.stiftung-nv.de/about-us

[1] i.e. Zuiderveen Borgesius, F.; van Eechoud, M; Gray, J. (2015) Open Data, Privacy, and Fair Information Principles: Towards a Balancing Framework.; Whittington J; Calo, R.; Simon, Mike; Woo, J.; Young, M.; Schmiedeskamp, P. (2015): Push, Pull and Spill; A Transdisciplinary Case Study in Municipal Open Government Seattle; Open Data and Privacy Group at OKF; Chapter on Privacy from Open Government Guide

[2] i.e. Berkeley Law School: Open Data: Addressing Privacy, Security, and Civil Rights Challenges, Omidyar: Open Up; Javier Ruiz, workshop in Ottawa.

Julia Manske
| German Phone: +49 (0)172 695 6651
| Skype: julia.manske
| PGP: 97150D18

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