Open Data, Privacy, and Fair Information Principles: Towards a Balancing Framework

47 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2015 Last revised: 2 Dec 2015

Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius

University of Amsterdam - IViR Institute for Information Law (IViR)

Mireille van Eechoud

Institute for Information Law University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Law

Jonathan Gray

King's College London

Date Written: November 24, 2015

Abstract

Open data are held to contribute to a wide variety of social and political goals, including strengthening transparency, public participation and democratic accountability, promoting economic growth and innovation, and enabling greater public sector efficiency and cost savings. However, releasing government data that contain personal information may threaten privacy and related rights and interests. In this paper we ask how these privacy interests can be respected, without unduly hampering benefits from disclosing public sector information. We propose a balancing framework to help public authorities address this question in different contexts. The framework takes into account different levels of privacy risks for different types of data. It also separates decisions about access and re-use, and highlights a range of different disclosure routes. A circumstance catalogue lists factors that might be considered when assessing whether, under which conditions, and how a dataset can be released. While open data remains an important route for the publication of government information, we conclude that it is not the only route, and there must be clear and robust public interest arguments in order to justify the disclosure of personal information as open data.

Keywords: Privacy, Data Protection, Fair Information Principles, OECD privacy Guidelines, Big Data, anonymous data, freedom of information, public sector data

JEL Classification: K00, K4, K12, K14, K33, K42, D10, D11, D20, D30, D40, D60, D70, L00, L11, L20, L51

Suggested Citation

Zuiderveen Borgesius, Frederik and van Eechoud, Mireille and Gray, Jonathan, Open Data, Privacy, and Fair Information Principles: Towards a Balancing Framework (November 24, 2015). Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Forthcoming; Institute for Information Law Research Paper No. 2015-04; Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2015-46. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2695005

Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - IViR Institute for Information Law (IViR) ( email )

Amsterdam
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.ivir.nl/employee/zuiderveen-borgesius/

Mireille M. M. Van Eechoud

Institute for Information Law University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Law ( email )

Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.ivir.nl

Jonathan Gray

King's College London ( email )

Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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