The 2012 BC Information Summit: This Time, It’s Personal
We at OpenMedia.ca are getting excited about the 2012 bi-annual BC Information Summit: This Time, It’s Personal: Freedom of Information and Privacy Under Government 2.0. The Summit will be held on September 19 and will focus on the BC Government’s sweeping “Citizens @ The Center: Government 2.0” initiative, which aims to to improve communication between government bodies and service providers in order to create “citizen-centred services.”
The Summit is being organized by the Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA), a coalition member from our StopSpying.ca campaign. Like FIPA, we believe that new technologies can be remarkable tools for openness, accountability, and participation, but they can also become the keys to surveillance and control when in the hands of powerful interests.
The Government 2.0 project, which was initiated in 2011, aims to break down the walls between discrete databases so that citizen information can flow smoothly between government bodies and the community service providers that we rely on for everything from healthcare to housing. This dramatic increase in the collection, sharing, use, and disclosure of citizen information across ministries, as well as between government and community bodies, is intended to facilitate an improvement in services, but it raises a number of concerns, as well, especially in light of recent privacy breaches and safety issues.
The Summit provides a forum to discuss the important questions that are raised by this policy shift: What does Government 2.0 mean for citizens? What effect will the new streamlined communications have on privacy, an important consideration when these services deal with sensitive information like health, family services, and employment records? Will citizens be able to access the information collected on them, or will the flow of data only go between the government and the service providers? What are the implications of the ability to link even anonymous data together through information sharing?
Supporting quicker, easier access to critical services is an exciting and important goal, but it needs to come with a commitment to making sure that only the right people see our personal information, only under the right circumstances, and only at the right times.
The voice of the pro-Internet community, which for decades has fought for public accountability and personal privacy, is an important addition to this conversation. If you’re in the area, be sure to join OpenMedia.ca, FIPA, and a host of others on September 19th to get the information you need about Government 2.0.
2012 BC Information Summit
September 19, 2012
UBC Robson Square
8:30 AM-5:00 PM