“How can the interests of the right to data protection be balanced with the interests of open data into a legal construct that enables the fulfilment of smart city objectives?”

The European Union’s policy on open data aims at generating value through the re-use of public sector information, such as geographical data. Open data policies should be applied in full compliance with the principles relating to the protection of personal data as safeguarded in the European data protection legal framework. Increased computer power, advancing data mining techniques and the proliferation of publicly available big data extend the scope of the European data protection legal framework to much more (geographic) data than currently assumed and acted upon and could in effect obstruct the implementation of open data policies in the EU. Given the importance of open (geographical) data for smart city concepts, the imbalance between open data and data protection regulations may block the further development and implementation of smart cities.

A balanced co-design of both open data regulations and data protection is needed as arguments relating to potential privacy infringements may raise obstacles to innovation and economic development. On the other hand the uncontrolled availability of public datasets will lead to more profiling, with chilling effects on individual freedom and a reduction in democratic accountability. This research aims to effectively co-design open data and privacy/data protection into a legal construct (a balancing model) that supports the benefits and protects the interests of both, while being able to cope with technological change. Such co-design is core to the development of smart cities and the infrastructures supporting them. This research will apply the requirements for effective co-design of data protection and open data regulations to the smart city domains of transport, energy and eHealth with a view to boosting innovation and  strengthening the economy.

SPOW is a joint project of 'Kenniscentrum Open Data' (Delft University of Technology) and Tilburg University.

This PhD project is part of the STW Maps4Society research program.

Safeguarding data protection in an open data world in a smart city context

SPOW is a joint project of 'Kenniscentrum Open Data' (Delft University of Technology) and Tilburg University.