United Arab Emirates: Informed Consent: How Government Can Unlock Value From Data

Last Updated: 3 August 2017
Article by Cristian Carstoiu and Farhan Syed

Many governments are looking to gain a more complete picture of their citizens as they try to better respond to the public's changing needs. The public sector faces a number of challenges in persuading citizens to share more personal data, and a recent series of Twitter polls conducted by KPMG's Global Government and Public Sector network suggest that trust among citizens around data sharing remains low.1

To succeed in winning over a skeptical public, focus should shift towards transparency, an essential foundation for building trust, and articulating the benefit of using data to add value to people's lives.

Private sector articulates value better

Citizens now voluntarily share more information with the private sector than government. Think of everything we share on social media, and with online shopping platforms. But why? Because the private sector is better at articulating its value proposition, and once it gets your data, it retains, arranges and shares it efficiently within their organizations to personalize its product or service offerings. If done well, customer loyalty and revenues surge. One example is Amazon's personalized recommendations engine which now makes up 35% of its total product sales.2

Government, on the other hand, has struggled to shake the image of monopolistic provider, offering citizens limited control over the personal information it holds, and providing fewer personalized services in return. Often, with different branches of government asking for the same details time and time again.

A general distrust affects confidence in data handling

Citizens in several jurisdictions have expressed a growing distrust3 of government and politics in general. This doesn't bode well for governments looking to persuade their citizens to part with more personal information.

This is especially true in individualistic societies, such as the UK and the US, where the public continues to express a desire for greater "control" in their interactions with government.

A growing number of governments are experimenting with the concept of "control" by putting privacy and information sharing into the hands of the people in the form of user consent. The emergence of mobile apps offers the opportunity to test consent-based models that allow governments to work with citizens to share their information with third party providers, trusted parties and loved ones – both Howz4 and Evergreen Life5 are good examples of apps that help advance the power of consent in real time when it comes to sharing personal information, such as health records.

Data risk to data value

In the UK, government has tended to focus on the security and protection of data sets, rather than on communicating proactively about the potential of greater information sharing. For good reason, security and protection are critical pre-requisites, as realized in the Child Benefits recipient's loss in 2007.6 As well, the lack of popular support and privacy concerns have historically undermined high profile programs, like National Identity Cards7 in 2011 and more recently Care.Data.8 Both contributed to public nervousness about the use of personal data but highlighted the need for government to communicate their intentions clearly to citizens with regards to data, in addition to the potential benefits.

In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)9 is redrawing the boundaries of government responsibilities and relationships relating to citizen privacy and control, increasingly focusing on the transparency, auditability, and granular consent from citizens themselves for sharing data. Despite Brexit, the UK also intends to implement the GDPR in May 2018.

The UK National Data Guardian (NDG) is another good example of a government organization focused on creating a more informed public on the use of their data and the benefits of sharing. Understandability, granularity, and timeliness of consent are key themes throughout a recentreport.10

Actions government can take to ease data sharing

1. Adopt greater transparency and communication.

Governments have seldom seen the need to publicize the results of their dealings with citizens' data. Traditional consultations and methods of communicating with the public about data are not dynamic and inclusive enough. More and more it is about using newer channels, in addition to traditional ones, to reach the broadest set of stakeholders as rapidly as possible. 

2. Communicate best-practice and success stories.

Even when data is used creatively and appropriately, the benefits are not always there for people to see. Publicizing the success and long-term benefits of data best-practices would help make a more robust case to the public for sharing more personal information. The largely untapped body of best-practice cases could be used to showcase the long-term benefits data sharing, while building a stronger case for more permissive public attitudes.

3. Link existing data to provide a clear, higher-value service offering.

Governments, for the most part, remain siloed and one of the greatest challenges in the public sector's handling of data remains the lack of data linking.  Linked data is in its early days in the UK, but the opportunities to measurably improve the personalization and efficiency of services is clear.

We also need to be thinking about the impact of consent and opt-out based models now or we may not be able to achieve the value we need from more joined up and inclusive information sharing.

4. Lead a public debate on data sharing and the ethics of data use.

I would love to see governments lead an inclusive debate on the ethics of data use. As organizations get better at combining and analyzing data sets, with more powerful tools and techniques, we must establish common principles of ethical and responsible data use. This could result in a number of positive outputs, including inputting into national legislative and regulatory baselines on the handling of sensitive data, and establishing views of data sharing across new trade boundaries.

What does success look like?

In the end, to gain greater license to use more information about its citizens, government can become more actively transparent in its dealings with personal data, and make proactive strides towards communicating its value more clearly in ways its citizen's will understand. Balancing consent and trust with efficiency of service delivery certainly remains a huge challenge.  

Success would mean a majority of the public who not only consent to sharing more of their personal information, but understand the value in doing so, and are motivated to update their information on a voluntary basis. With this support, governments can embrace more ambitious data initiatives leading to better, and more citizen-centered services without the fear of disruption or the loss of good-will.

Footnotes

1 KPMG's Global Government & Public Sector network conducted a series of seven polls on Twitter relating to public trust and government use of data between October 2016 and February 2017. The polls received a cumulative 107,924 votes.
2 The Power of Personalized Product Recommendations. (2017, March 09). Retrieved March 13, 2017.
3 Trust in Government. (n.d.). Retrieved March and April, 2017.
4 howz
5 evergreenlife
6 UK's families put on fraud alert. (2007, November 20). Retrieved March 13, 2017.
7 Identity cards and new Identity and Passport Service suppliers. (2013, March 26). Retrieved May 13, 2017.
8 Boseley, S. (2016, July 06). NHS to scrap single database of patients' medical details. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
9 (Regulation (EU) 2016/679
10 Review of data security, consent and opt-outs

2 May 2017

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions