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Case studies  Identification versus anonymity in e-government


Conclusion and discussion

The two questions of this chapter were ‘To what extent does the application of new technologies in public service provision change the identification process of the citizen by the government?’ and ‘To what extent does the citizen become more anonymous or more known by the government?’ From the results of both case studies, it can be concluded that new technologies change the identification process. In the tree felling permit case, the sequence of the various parts of the identification process was changed. In the border passage case, personal information was stored in an additional database which could also be accessed by the KMar.  

As to the identifiability of citizens, the cases produce mixed results. In the tree felling permit case, the citizen was equally identifiable when the identification process of the traditional application was compared with the identification process of the electronic application. So, there was no shift detected on the anonymity-identifiability continuum. In the border crossing case, however, a shift was detected on the anonymity-identifiability continuum towards identifiability. Using the electronic Privium border passage means that the personal data is stored in an extra database and more information is asked for, stored, and shared. In addition, using the electronic application (i.e., Privium) also enhances the identity knowledge capacity of the service provider (i.e., KMar). 

Of course, no hard conclusions can be drawn from only two cases. To get more comprehensive answers, more cases should be studied, but this chapter can direct to future research. The identification process applied in the border passage application remains opaque and not transparent. For security reasons, information about the identification process is not easily given. The electronic identification process in the application for a tree felling permit is modelled after the traditional identification process and electronic application for public services is relatively new. So, the electronic identification process when applying for public services may change in time. When a similar study is conducted within a few years, the results can be different. 



Case studies  fidis-wp5.del5.4-anonymity-egov_01.sxw  Bibliography
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