You are here: Resources > FIDIS Deliverables > Forensic Implications > D5.4: Anonymity in electronic government: a case-study analysis of governments? identity knowledge > 
Analysis  Identification versus anonymity in e-government



In this chapter, we have tried to find an answer to the question whether the identity knowledge of the government is growing through the development of eGovernment in Belgium. The answer to this question is yes. We have focused on the usage of common identification keys as a prerequisite to achieve interoperability in Belgian federal eGovernment and explained which identity data and identifiers are being provided and used in eGovernment (sections 6.4 and 6.5). 

In section 6.6, we introduced the term “globally unique identifier” and analyzed what the consequences are of global identifiers for identity knowledge. We explained that we should be aware of the difficult choice between an identity society (such as defended by Bentham) and a pseudonym society: 

  1. In the identity society, technology has carte blanche, and the question of how fundamental rights (such as privacy) are being protected depends on the subsequent political decisions.

  1. In a pseudonym society, technology is intentionally limited and regulated in advance, and fundamental principles are incorporated in the architecture design.

Apart from a few exceptions, in Belgian federal eGovernment, the first option has clearly been chosen, via the decision to build its data exchange on globally unique identifiers which allow identification and data linkage across contexts. 

We thereby found out that one additional question should be asked, namely whether, when a government like the Belgian federal government chooses a Benthamite approach on identification, and identity knowledge thus indeed increases, some degree of privacy can still be provided to its citizens. We believe the answer to this question is yes as well, and we have made a number of suggestions for future research, based on transparency, accountability, and the enforcement of data protection and privacy requirements.


Analysis  fidis-wp5.del5.4-anonymity-egov_01.sxw  Bibliography
32 / 45