Legal framework for the use of big data and blockchain in public governance

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By using technologies, such as big data and blockchain, public administrations are able to process a large amount of citizens’ personal data. When processing these personal data, the administration must comply with the personal data protection rules contained in the General Data Protection Regulation. As the use of such technologies could have dramatic impacts on the lives of their citizens, it is fundamental to understand the limits that this legal framework puts on their use. This chapter analyses the interactions between personal data protection and big data and blockchain technologies. It explains the legal framework within which such technologies can be leveraged by public administrations for the provision of their public services. Focussing on data collection and combination (big data), this chapter concludes that the processing of personal should be based on a law meeting certain requirements. Data subjects’ rights must also be respected. Regarding data storage (blockchain), several key and concrete takeaways are formulated for public administrations. While most of the following analysis will be equally applicable to any public administration within the European Union, this chapter will focus on two case studies within the Belgian public administration, namely the public policies and decision-making linked to social security infringements and tax fraud at the Belgian federal level. Indeed, these could have a significant impact on citizens’ finances in particular, and their lives in general.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe new digital era governance
Subtitle of host publicationhow new digital technologies are shaping public governance
EditorsEvrim Tan, Joep Crompvoets
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-8686-930-5
ISBN (Print)978-90-8686-378-5
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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