Blockchain and the Public Sector
Public Sector Data Management
In many countries, developing or otherwise, there is a common measure of stigma and aversion to the idea of the government being custodians of citizens’ personal data. The stigma and aversion stems from the fear of draconian surveillance measures that diminish the freedoms of the country’s citizens. Many fictional works, such as George Orwell’s 1984 touched on the subject of mass surveillance and thus, the concept lingers in the public consciousness.
However, despite the fears and anxieties, public data management is a crucial aspect of modern life. Government bureaucracy and administration would simply cease to function without data management. This brings up another valid point regarding government data management: efficiency.
Government administration in most countries still follow a system that would have been relevant in the 20th century. Although digitalization of administration has been in place, the process still remains elusive, particularly in developing countries. Even with digitalization, the limitations of such practices still pervade public sector services.
Digitalized Public Data
Public data that has been digitalized often go hand in hand with wider possibilities for not only the government handling the data, but also the citizenry. Digitalized government data opens the possibility of faster administrative processes, ease of application for the data to be used in other outlets and also ensuring the citizen’s guarantee to access various public services from healthcare to publicly funded scholarships.
In many developed countries, digitalized public data such as national identification cards, passports and the like has been present since the 2000s. However, in many developing countries, this level digitalization is hindered by costs, reliance on the pre-existing non-digital system and the difficulty of even compiling rural citizens’ data who often have little to no access to government administrative bodies.
To add to the myriad of difficulties, current public data management systems rely on the usage of physical servers. These servers can be hard and expensive to maintain and are even prone to physical damage. If said servers are damaged, crucial citizen data would quite literally be lost.
Blockchain Public Data
Blockchain technology is a decentralized form of data management and storage system. The governments of some countries, such as the People’s Republic of China, the Kenya and Japan have started adopting blockchain technology to integrate some of their administrative services onto. In doing so, blockchain technology has become a part of the lifeblood of some of these administrative processes.
By adopting blockchain technology for public data management, the streamlining of sorting out public data has become ever simpler. This is due to the fact that blockchain technology directly absorbs the data and integrates it into the blockchain ledger itself, as opposed to having to upload things onto a physical server which may take more time and pose logistical challenges.
The use of blockchain technology also ensures that physical damage to computer hardware does not run the risk of the institutions literally losing the data it was storing. Being a decentralized form of technology, blockchain ensures that continuity of the datas’ existence remain stored within the system despite such events.
Setting up a blockchain system for data storage and management may even be more cost-effective than conventional server-based data systems currently used by digitalized public sector institutions.
Currently there are startup companies contracted by governments to establish these public service blockchain systems. As the world of decentralized systems continue to develop, we at Fasset will play our part to ensure the next billion will have access to this novel technology.