Open data, transparency, privacy: PA new challenges

18/09/2014 –  Nina Preite*

Open Data are one of the hottest topics for public administrations, which count on them to promote their information heritage. Anyway it is needed an actual, systematic and effective action, at any administrative level. In order to public data that can be reused, standards and regulations are needed.

Why Open Data are so decisive for PA in the management of digital processes and communications?

Open Date are central in e-Government strategies and essential to promote transparency in administrative behave (from it derives responsibility, updating citizens on public administration activities), active participation of citizens in public administration decisions, to make available online public data for stakeholders (citizens, institutions and enterprises), with a constantly increasing dataset needed to economy promotion and development.

New national guidelines for the promotion of public information heritage (2014) have the purpose of support this process, giving a model for public data and at the same time an operative plan.

The main phases of the process are: coordination between central and local PA level for exchange and publication of similar open data and identification of people involved in the process.

It is important to separate the definitions of open data and sharing data. According to Guidelines sharing data concerns limited fields (PA or public institutions) and operate with specific purposes of sharing on a group of specific data, also with commercial purposes. In these cases the request is to indicate sources and use them within their original licensing conditions.  This distinction, given on the basis of the function of the data is fundamental for a correct and aware management of data publication and sharing.

Guidelines for standardization of public data usability (2013) at art. 50 establish that, in order to protect personal data, PA can use and share data only according to their institutional activities.

Art. 58, establishes, in order to protect personal data, that administration managing big datasetS with personal data have to assure their availability. AGID Institution has to control the application of these rules and public administrations have to communicate to AGID  their dataset and the applications that they use.

Another important issue is privacy. Public administration have to reduce the amount of personal data published. Personal data have to be published according to the purpose of the Institutions and only when expressly requested by law.

Finally, it is also important the distinction between open data and data with an open format. Guidelines on personal data in administrative documents, for publicity and transparency on web establishes that documents and data with obligation of publicity must be available in a open format and can be reuse mentioning the source.

Public data that can be reuse are anonymous data.

Within PA have been identified some managers who must coordinate and manage public data in order to:

– Manage data in general
Open Data Manager
– Respect transparency and publicity
Transparency Manager
– Protect privacy
Privacy policy manager

These managers work together in order to public data that can be reuse and at the same time respect regulations on privacy.

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