Sharing data with the government

9 May 2008 at 9:42 pm Leave a comment

IIPS data and analysis

Michelle Singer writes:

People in the UK feel far more comfortable about sharing their personal data with government if they are also allowed to share in the benefits. This was the conclusion drawn from new survey research presented at last week’s IIPS briefing: ‘How concerned are citizens about data and privacy in the public services?’ (The Institute for Insight in the Public Services is a joint initiative between Henley Centre HeadlightVision and its sister company, BMRB Social Research, which provides a thought-leading insight forum for those working across government.)

The chart at the top of this post shows that, firstly, citizens’ first reaction is one of extreme wariness – no doubt exacerbated by recent media stories about data that has gone ‘missing in action’. However, when requests for personal information are sweetened by the promise of “better service”, the picture changes dramatically. Over two thirds of citizens are then happy to provide their details to government departments.

Amongst those who remain sceptical, a significant barrier is that they do not understand why government would want to gather their data, let alone to share it with other government departments. The policy concept of ‘joined up government’ has evidently not yet been sufficiently well explained to its public stakeholders.

While these findings have direct relevance for the government’s public service transformation agenda, they also reinforce a broader insight about shifting power relationships: consumers nowadays are far more likely to recognise the value that companies and organisations derive from their personal data and information (as well as the risks entailed in handing over control); as a result, they are demanding both justification and recompense, as well as reassurance that their information will be stored securely.

Entry filed under: consumers, digital, politics.

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The Futures Company was created through the merger of Henley Centre HeadlightVision and Yankelovich in 2008. This is the blog of the new company - but the former posts from the former Henley Centre Headlightvision blog still can be found here.

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