Privacy and Trust: Information, Government and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Charles D. Raab


Trust is an important theme of government, involving trust in the networks of administration, citizens’ trust in public authorities and the trustworthiness of the latter. This paper explores the meaning of trust, but the main focus is on relations between citizens and the state, include information flows, in a climate of public skepticism about government. People exchange their personal details for benefits and services, and the state gives information to citizens as part of accountability. ICT developments intensify personal data processing, raising questions of surveillance, privacy protection and public access to information. As some examples show, they may also facilitate service delivery, democracy and the provision of information as tools for accountability and transparency. However, it is questionable whether ICT itself provides trustworthy and sufficient instruments for achieving administrative objectives as well as public benefits and privacy protection.