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Portugal

Personal and Business Data App (PT0001)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Portugal Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of the Presidency and of Administrative Modernisation/ Administrative Modernization Agency

Support Institution(s): All that join the platform The joining of public entities is voluntary, being automatic for those that are already integrated with the Interoperability Platform of the Public Administration (which is managed by AMA). The entities that do not join the platform will still be able to access citizen’s personal data, with prior authorization by other channels (e.g, paper, sms, etc.).

Policy Areas

E-Government

IRM Review

IRM Report: Portugal Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

COMMITMENT #1: FOLLOW MY DATA
Commitment Start and End Date: implementation from the first quarter of 2019
Lead implementing agency/actor Ministry of the Presidency and of Administrative Modernisation/ Administrative Modernization Agency
Commitment description
What is the public problem that the commitment will address?
Citizens are increasingly aware of their lack of control over the use of their personal data by both public and private entities, which contributes to hinder confidence in the use of digital services in general.
What is the commitment? Develop an app that allows citizens and businesses to monitor access to their personal and business data.
How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem? The mobile application, which will integrate secure authentication via Digital Mobile Key, will allow the data provider (the citizen) to manage requests for access authorization by public or private bodies, including creating, suspending and deleting access authorizations (for example, citizen may allow the "Entity X" to access "ID, Tax Number, Name, employer" up to date "Y", for the purpose of "Opening a Bank Account").
In addition to the app, citizens will also be able to use the Citizen Portal to consult the accesses made by public authorities that are legally entitled to access their data without prior authorization.
Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values? The measure fits on the axes “Transparency” and “Use of ICT and Digital Inclusion”.
Additional information Measure #22 of the SIMPLEX+2018 program
Additional information Additional information Additional information
User Interface development and prototyping December 2018 February 2018
App available for tests March 2019
App on Stores April 2019
Contact information
Name of responsible person from implementing agency AMA – André Vasconcelos
Title, Department Advisor to the Board of Directors
Email and Phone eri@ama.pt
21 721 55 45
Other Actors Involved State actors involved All that join the platform
The joining of public entities is voluntary, being automatic for those that are already integrated with the Interoperability Platform of the Public Administration (which is managed by AMA).
The entities that do not join the platform will still be able to access citizen’s personal data, with prior authorization by other channels (e.g, paper, sms, etc.).

CSOs, private sector, multilaterals, working groups All that join the platform.
The entities that do not join the platform will still be able to access citizen’s personal data, with prior authorization by other channels (e.g, paper, sms, etc.).

IRM Midterm Status Summary

1. Follow my data

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: [1]

“Citizens are increasingly aware of their lack of control over the use of their personal data by both public and private entities, which contributes to hinder confidence in the use of digital services in general.

Develop an app that allows citizens and businesses to monitor access to their personal and business data.

The mobile application, which will integrate secure authentication via Digital Mobile Key, will allow the data provider (the citizen) to manage requests for access authorization by public or private bodies, including creating, suspending and deleting access authorizations (for example, citizen may allow the "Entity X" to access "ID, Tax Number, Name, employer" up to date "Y", for the purpose of "Opening a Bank Account"). In addition to the app, citizens will also be able to use the Citizen Portal to consult the accesses made by public authorities that are legally entitled to access their data without prior authorization.”

Milestones:

1.1. User Interface development and prototyping

1.2. App available for tests

1.3. App on stores

Start Date: December 2018

End Date: April 2019

Context and Objectives

The public adoption of digital services in Portugal has been hindered by concerns of online security and lack of control over access to personal data. In 2018, only 42 percent of the adult population contacted public authorities through the internet, 10 points below the European average. [2] However, the alternative of providing these services in person is more onerous to both service providers and citizens. This commitment aims to increase public trust in digital services and to promote their adoption. To do so, a mobile app will be developed to allow citizens and businesses to monitor and manage which institutions (public or private) have access to their personal information. The measure will not increase public access to government-held information. However, it could be particularly useful to speed up the process of citizens and businesses granting access to their personal information in a secure environment. The implementation of the commitment involves a minor legislative adjustment regarding data portability rights. This adjustment is not expected to stall the implementation of the commitment. [3]

André Vasconcelos of the Administrative Modernization Agency (AMA), which coordinates the initiative, explained the potentialities of the initiative through an example: [4] When a citizen wants to open a bank account (or apply to a public program), he or she has to provide a variety of personal information to the institution providing this service. Currently, citizens must visit each individual government agency that holds this information separately (e.g., a marriage certificate or an address certificate). Through the mobile app developed for this commitment, the bank can request this information directly from the different agencies. Also, the citizen decides whether or not he or she grants access to this information and manages individual access.

This commitment was originally developed as part of SIMPLEX+2018, the government’s ongoing program for the modernization of public services. [5] According to the AMA, the inclusion of this measure in the action plan was meant to increase its visibility, and to help access partnering institutions that are crucial for the success of the initiative. [6]

This commitment has the potential to improve transparency around who is accessing an individual’s personal data, and it promotes the diffusion of new technologies that offer opportunities for information sharing. Hence, it is consistent with the OGP values of access to information and technology and innovation. The milestones are clearly defined and verifiable, though vaguely worded. Ultimately, the goal of the commitment is not to make the app available but to promote its adoption. As written, the commitment provides no information about this important step of the initiative. However, interviewed AMA representatives described ongoing efforts to disseminate the mobile app among key stakeholders in the public and private sector. [7]

The IRM researcher judges the potential impact of the commitment as minor. The specific impact of the initiative on simplifying the process of granting access to personal information is meaningful and eventually transformative. However, it is not clear how well the initiative will be able to address the baseline problem of distrust in digital services that motivated the commitment, as described in the plan. Creating more digital services alone should not suffice to increase confidence in digital services. Additionally, the process by which this initiative will reach a wide audience could be further explained. There are reasons to anticipate that the mobile app will be used mostly by a minority of tech-savvy citizens and businesses, limiting its potential impact. [8] For instance, the app will require the digital mobile key which currently about 7.3 percent of Portugal’s population has access to, although the number of users is increasing at a faster rate since early 2019. [9] This issue does not make the initiative less valid but suggests that dissemination efforts should have received more attention in the commitment.

Next steps

Given that the commitment is already under way, the IRM researcher does not recommend carrying this initiative forward to the next action plan. Based on the analysis above, the IRM researcher recommends the following next steps:

  • AMA could carry out dissemination and training campaigns with public institutions that may benefit more directly from this new tool.
  • Young adults, as the most digital-oriented segments of the public, are the most-likely users of the tool. Hence, the dissemination of the Follow my Data could benefit from targeting young adults. This initiative could be done in collaboration with the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities (CRUP).
  • Consider creating a physical platform to access the app to be installed in Citizen Shops, to provide equal opportunity of access to the tool and to widen the impact of the initiative.
  • Consider using the mobile app to provide government-held information that may be of interest to individual users in order to better align the commitment with specific OGP goals.
  • Future action plans would benefit from including milestones that emphasize specific targeted behavior change rather than intermediate steps. This effort could improve OGP relevance towards public accountability.
[3] André Vasconcelos, Administrative Modernization Agency, interview with IRM researcher, 22 April 2019.
[4] Ibid.
[6] Cláudia Barroso and Tiago Mendonça, Administrative Modernization Agency, 22 April 2019.
[7] Cláudia Barroso and Tiago Mendonça, Administrative Modernization Agency, 22 April 2019; André Vasconcelos, Administrative Modernization Agency, interview with IRM researcher, 22 April 2019.
[8] Bárbara Barbosa Neves, Inovação, modernização e competitividade na administração pública: o exemplo do governo electrónico em Portugal, Espanha e Irlanda, https://cladista.clad.org/bitstream/handle/123456789/4808/0057933.pdf?sequence=1
[9] According to the official statistics from the government, in 2019 there are close to 656,000 active digital keys (https://www.autenticacao.gov.pt/stats-chave-movel-digital). Based on the last census, Portugal has 9 million working age citizens. Hence: (656,000/9,000,000)*100 =  7.3 percent.