Independent Research and Policy Advocacy

An operational architecture for privacy-by-design in public service applications

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Governments around the world are trying to build large data registries for effective delivery of a variety of public services. However, these efforts are often undermined due to serious concerns over privacy risks associated with collection and processing of personally identifiable information. While a rich set of specialpurpose privacy-preserving techniques exist in computer science, they are unable to provide end-to-end protection in alignment with legal principles in the absence of an overarching operational architecture to ensure purpose limitation and protection against insider attacks. This either leads to weak privacy protection in large designs, or adoption of overly defensive strategies to protect privacy by compromising on utility. In this paper, we present an operational architecture for privacy-by-design based on independent regulatory oversight stipulated by most data protection regimes, regulated access control, purpose limitation and data minimisation. We briefly discuss the feasibility of implementing our architecture based on existing techniques. We also present some sample case studies of privacy-preserving design sketches of challenging public service applications.

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