Much more than just a few policy changes, Government 2.0 represents a fundamental shift in governance and service provision in British Columbia. Its effects and impacts will be visible in the bureaucracy, in judicial proceedings, and on the front lines of day-to-day life where citizens interact regularly with government. Such an extensive plan demands extensive investigation, and that’s why, with Info Summit 2012, FIPA is pleased to bring you a variety of perspectives on both FOI and privacy aspects.
Since May 2010, Elizabeth Denham has served as the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia. Since her appointment, Denham has raised the profile of privacy rights, promoted transparency in government, and adopted a proactive approach to the enforcement of access and privacy laws in British Columbia.
Ms. Denham will be speaking to the state of information rights in British Columbia, and what, from a privacy and FOI perspective, it will mean for citizens, practitioners, service providers, researchers, and government employees.
Panel 1: Open Data Report Card-How’s It Working for You?
In this panel session, Open Data will be front and center. Increasingly, governments across Canada and around the world are using new technologies to put large amounts of government data in the hands of citizens. BC, in particular, has been a hotbed of this activity, with both municipal and provincial governments making a serious effort to make data available. We’ll be looking at what has been accomplished so far, what remains to be done, and how the community can help make it happen. What have researchers, community workers, and citizens been able to do with the new tools, and what do they need to realize the promise of Open Data? Our expert panel will dive in and turn out some qualitative data!
Panel 2: Freedom of Information and Government 2.0: Problems and Solutions
What impact does proactive disclosure and open data have on established FOI practices? What changes can requesters look forward to, and how have public bodies changed their practices for the better or worse as part of the roll out of Government 2.0? A panel of experienced and thoughtful FOI requesters will let you know what they have experienced, and how you can get the information you need through FOI, Open Data or exciting new possibilities.
Colin Bennett is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria and a renowned surveillance and privacy researcher. He is particularly interested in the politics of privacy, and the governance of the issue in different states, as well as internationally. He is currently involved in three research projects: a continuation of work on the subject of privacy advocacy; a large interdisciplinary project on surveillance – the New Transparency Project; and a new project on implications for personal privacy of social-networking.
Mr. Bennett will be addressing the recently introduced “Smart Care Card,” a cornerstone of the Government 2.0 package. From the perspective of privacy, data tracking, and surveillance, he will explore what the card means for the information rights of British Columbians.
Panel 3: Caring and Sharing? Data Flows and Linkages Under Government 2.0
A key dimension of Government 2.0 initiative is a dramatic increase in the collection, sharing, use, and disclosure of citizen information across ministries and between government and non-government service providers. The BC government says this information is essential for the provision of “citizen-centred services,” but the ability to link even anonymous data together through information sharing can amplify both the control over over and risks to our personal information. Is it possible to find an appropriate balance between efficient service provision and privacy rights?
Panel 4: Information Law & Government 2.0: Changes to the FIPPA
In 2011, the BC Government unveiled extensive changes to the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). Alarm bells sounded as the amendments made their way into law and experts mulled over what the effects would be, especially with so much to be done by administrative action or regulation. It has been almost a year since the package of amendments became law and the regulations proclaimed. Were the critics right? What do the changes mean for the powers of public bodies, non-government bodies and British Columbians? What do legal practitioners and others need to know to provide sound advice in this new environment, and what work remains to be done?