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Big and Open Linked Data (BOLD) in government: A challenge to transparency and privacy?

December 06, 2016 by Marijn Janssen, Jeroen van den Hoven

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Big and Open Linked Data (BOLD) results in new opportunities and have the potential to transform government and its interactions with the public. BOLD provides the opportunity to analyze the behavior of individuals, increase control, and reduce privacy. At the same time BOLD can be used to create an open and transparent government. Transparency and privacy are considered as important societal and democratic values that are needed to inform citizens and let them participate in democratic processes. Practices in these areas are changing with the rise of BOLD. Although intuitively appealing, the concepts of transparency and privacy have many interpretations and are difficult to conceptualize, which makes it often hard to implement them. Transparency and privacy should be conceptualized as complex, non-dichotomous constructs interrelated with other factors. Only by conceptualizing these values in this way, the nature and impact of BOLD on privacy and transparency can be understood, and their levels can be balanced with security, safety, openness and other socially-desirable values.