The European Commission is determined to make eGovernment work across European Union Member States. Ensuring the security of personal data being shared between countries or government departments is an important element of this. That’s because without citizen trust in the ability of Government to safeguard personal data, eGov will not deliver on its promise.
Indeed, while internet access is widespread (and expanding) across Europe, there is an unwillingness on the part of the continent’s internet population to use online Government services. In fact research suggests that more than a third still refuse to engage with public services online. With cyber security a very real threat, is fear of how and where personal information is likely to be used a factor in this?
For eGovernment to work, this fear must be addressed. There is already legislation in place governing this in many countries and there has been an EU Directive relating to personal data since 1995. This directive asserts that “the fundamental rights of individuals should be safeguarded” in an EU with a functioning internal market supporting “the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital”.
So the task for Governments is to proactively inform citizens about their personal data and how, when and by whom it is being processed. This transparency of personal data (as well as Governmental responsibilities and performance, and service delivery processes) is a key benchmark adopted by the EC in measuring the progress of the eGov journey.
However, the situation is not satisfactory. The findings of the annual eGovernment Benchmark survey conducted by Capgemini show that, while some countries are more advanced in their strategies for transparent personal data, action on the part of all Governments is required to build trust in their ability to safeguard and appropriately use personal data.
Download the 2013 eGovernment Benchmark report ‘Delivering the European Advantage’.