One thing that public government knows how to do is collect data on its citizens. From your tax and health records to whether you are licensed to drive a car, national and local officials possess massive amounts of personal data on each and every one of us. Unfortunately, that data is currently kept under the lid, siloed in the information systems of every individual public body. Personal data does not travel smoothly between public organizations (often it does not travel at all), nor is it possible for a citizen to give a third party access to her/his data.
However, things are changing. We at the National Architecture for Digital Services (KaPA) are currently building up a digital infrastructure (based on X-Road) which offers a standardised way to transfer information between organisations, enabling the building of safe service entities for citizens, businesses, and authorities called the Suomi.fi Data Exchange Layer. Furthermore, this layer has the potential to enable Finnish people to manage their own personal data stored in the information systems of public organisations in accordance with MyData ideals by making it technically easier.
KaPA on a mission – innovate with us in Ultrahack MyData
Our work is not ready yet. However, the potential power of the Data Exchange Layer coupled with the idea of personal data management is, of course, enormous. Just imagine what kind of services could be innovated if we were given the choice of sharing our own data, collected by public officials, to third parties. At the Personal Data Hackathon, that is exactly what we want you to do. As the Event Partner of the Personal Data Hackathon, we challenge hackathon teams to conceptualize innovative ways to make use of personal data originating from the public sector.
We want the participating teams to concentrate on service design and innovative ideas. That is why our hackathon challenge is a conceptual one –hardcore coding skills are by no means necessary. We want you to present us with a service concept that is user-centered and makes personal data management effortless and transparent.
As a resource we will provide the teams with a listing of potentially interesting national data registers. This, by the way, has been the biggest obstacle as we have bounced around ideas about what our challenge is all about. No comprehensive listing of all registers and information systems containing citizens’ personal data in some form or another exists. Thus we are currently compiling one, by hand.
At its most fundamental level, a hackathon is a form of creative problem-solving. In a hack, you are given some rough guidelines on how to solve the given problem, yet for the most part you are free to do whatever you like. It’s a very different way of working than what the public sector bodies are used to. As a joint campaign by a number of public officials has shown, public purchasing processes, for example, do not leave much space for innovation, when the tools, methods, and end results are strictly prescribed beforehand. We at KaPA, on the other hand, are committed to more agile working methods and creative thinking. That is why we want to explore the possibilities of MyData within the public sector by partnering with the Personal Data Hackathon.
Looking forward to seeing you all in August!
the KaPA Team