Striking a balance: Open data and privacy in the digital era |
Pārlekt uz galveno saturu
European data
Eiropas datu oficiālais portāls

Striking a balance: Open data and privacy in the digital era

Promoting transparency while safeguarding personal privacy

In today's digital landscape, maintaining privacy alongside open data efforts is essential. It involves safeguarding personal information from unauthorised access or sharing, ensuring individuals have control over their data. However, as open data initiatives become more widespread, managing the balance between privacy and data accessibility presents new challenges.

Open data initiatives seek to make data findable and datasets interoperable with a view to maximising their reuse both alone and in combination with other datasets. However, these projects involve sharing extensive datasets, some of which may include data about identifiable individuals or even sensitive details. Despite attempts to remove identifying information, if enough attributes about an individual are released, it is possible that their identity can be inferred. This can be accomplished by cross-referencing and connecting data between different databases and datasets.

Addressing these challenges requires a delicate balance between data openness and privacy protection. Several techniques have been used to protect the privacy of the individuals, such as pseudonymous and anonymous data or data aggregation, through which detailed data are grouped and released as statistics or metadata. Moreover, guidelines and regulations have been published on both a European and national level to ensure that open data initiatives are conducted ethically and responsibly.

The European Commission's 'Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI' is an example of a guideline, establishing a bedrock of ethical principles for AI development and usage that respect human rights and ensure transparency and fairness. The well-known General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enforces controls over personal data handling in the EU, mandating explicit consent for data collection and granting individuals significant control over their personal information.

Incorporating these ethical guidelines and legal frameworks into open data practices is essential. By harnessing privacy-enhancing technologies and aligning with transparent, accountable data governance models, we can leverage open data's societal benefits while protecting individual privacy.  

For more news and events, follow us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn, or subscribe to our newsletter.

Text of this article