Reconciling Fair Information Principles and Open Data policies

Project team:

Prof. Mireille van Eechoud (project lead);
Prof. Richard Rogers;
Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius;
Jonathan Gray.

Summary of the project:

Public sector bodies are viewed as key sources of open data. Governments around the world have made opening up data a priority and an integral part of their wider open government agendas. However, there are widespread concerns that releasing government data sets with personal information threatens privacy and related rights and interests.
In this project we examine this tension between open data policy and privacy interests through the Fair Information Principles (FIPs), with special focus on their elaboration in the EU data protection laws. The Fair Information Principles are the common core of most data privacy laws and guidelines around the world, including those in the US.
The project will combine legal analysis by IVIR with empirical research using state-of-the-art digital research methods by the University of Amsterdam Media Studies Department’s Digital Methods Initiative (DMI). The empirical study will highlight which actors (e.g. government, civil society, private sector) are talking about open data and privacy, what issues they are concerned about, and how these issues are being presented. As well as informing our legal analysis, it will contribute towards better understanding the most pressing legal issues in public policy debates in this area.

Results will be presented at the 19th Annual BCLT/BTLJ Symposium: The Privacy, Security, Human Rights, and Civil Rights Implications of Releasing Government Datasets (April 2015).