MyData: bringing transparency to Belgians’ personal data

by Vincent Forge - Client Executive - Public Sector
| minute read

Today all of us are aware of and, at least to some extent, familiar with the EU’s main data protection law, GDPR. But Belgium’s federal government is also making great strides in that particular area of security. And Sopra Steria is supporting those efforts, offering advice, expertise, and manpower whenever and wherever they’re needed.

Data protection has been high on the public agenda for quite some time now, and it looks like the issue is here to stay. As a consequence, governments are taking more action and coming up with concrete initiatives to improve the protection of our personal data., or MyData for short, is just such an initiative. Launched by Belgium’s Secretary of State for Digitalisation, Mathieu Michel, who is responsible for the protection of privacy, the idea behind the project is to provide a portal that allows you as a citizen to see what personal data the federal government holds and uses on you. The aim is to systematically and easily provide greater transparency about those data: who has access to what type of data, why, and under what legal mandate?

Core principle of data protection

Transparency is a core principle in data protection. What this principle boils down to is that you have the right to know what personal data are collected, used, accessed, or otherwise processed, and to what extent the data are processed.

The principle of transparency requires that any information or communication relating to the processing of personal data is easily accessible and easy to understand. In the context of the GDPR legislation, the various federal government services in Belgium have already put in a lot of effort in recent years. Citizens can ask any government service about the use of their data. However, in the past they had to contact each body separately.

Largest transparency project ever

With MyData, the Belgian government is making all this information accessible via a single website. “This makes MyData the largest transparency project ever carried out by the federal government,” according to the Secretary of State himself. “But transparency is crucial for our citizens — and rightly so. And as a government, we must continue to earn the trust of citizens every day.”

As a global federal GDPR register, the MyData website provides concrete answers to common questions such as:

  • Which categories of data are collected by the FPS Finance?
  • Why does the FPS Policy and Support (BOSA) process my personal data?
  • What does the FPS Mobility and Transport do with the data I provide when applying for a number plate?

Assisting in word and deed

As a project partner, Sopra Steria Benelux has been very closely involved in the development of the MyData platform. However, the role of our experts is not limited to the nuts-and-bolts work. We also advise the federal government on, among other things, the best choice of architecture and development methodology, and we help to define the architecture and effectively implement the project. To this end, we also work very closely with all the other project partners and, of course, the federal government itself. In total, about 60 government institutions are involved in this project, the coordination of which is in the hands of the FPS Policy and Support (BOSA).

The project should be completed by the end of this year. “That’s a very challenging deadline,” says Hans Cromphout, Director Public Services at Sopra Steria Benelux. “Which is why we decided from the start to assign a dedicated team of our best and most senior consultants to this project.” 

>To find out more about our Public Sector offering, check out our website. Or contact me or my colleagues directly.