Streamlining governmental processes by putting citizens in control of their personal data

In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Electronic Governance and Open Society: Challenges in Eurasia (2019)

Governments typically store large amounts of personal information on their citizens, such as a home address, marital status, and occupation, to offer public services. Because governments consist of various governmental agen- cies, multiple copies of this data often exist. This raises concerns regarding data consistency, privacy, and access control, especially under recent legal frame- works such as GDPR. To solve these problems, and to give citizens true control over their data, we explore an approach using the decentralised Solid ecosys- tem, which enables citizens to maintain their data in personal data pods. We have applied this approach to two high-impact use cases, where citizen infor- mation is stored in personal data pods, and both public and private organisations are selectively granted access. Our findings indicate that Solid allows reshaping the relationship between citizens, their personal data, and the applications they use in the public and private sector. We strongly believe that the insights from this Flemish Solid Pilot can speed up the process for public administrations and private organisations that want to put the users in control of their data.