Citizen-Centric Personal Data Storage in The Public Sector: An Exploration of Opportunities, Challenges, and Preconditions

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Laurens Vandercruysse
Ruben D'Hauwers
August Bourgeus


Public sector organizations are driven to re-imagine personal data management practices. Notably, the Flemish government aims to set up a Solid-enabled PDS-based data platform, which is to serve as the foundation of (personal) data sharing ecosystems that respect EU fundamental rights ‘by design.’ Of course, a critical success factor for this novel Flemish data platform is the broad adoption of citizen-centric data storage by public organizations in the region. This article constitutes an exploration of opportunities, challenges, and preconditions for the Flemish public sector through 13 expert interviews. Our findings show that citizen-centric personal data storage is expected to optimize intra-public sector data use, enable proactive public service provision, and foster trust. Challenges relate to a lack of human and financial resources, and data literacy/ inclusivity issues. For continued public sector engagement in PDS-based data ecosystems, preconditions in terms of moderation of ecosystem openness and data sharing reciprocity, as well as clustering of sub-ecosystems by use-cases, are to be considered.

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