Empirical Investigation of the Role of Privacy and Data Protection in the Implementation of Electronic Government in Ghana
This study investigates the role of privacy and data protection in the implementation of e-government in developing countries. It examines the privacy and data protection issues which arise when e-government is introduced in Ghana. E-government is a way that governments liaise with their various departments and agencies through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Through e-government, governments are able to provide better, effective and efficient services to their citizens. This new form of governments’ delivering services electronically to their citizens, businesses and various departments potentially offers benefits (for example, economic development, low costs and improved services) to society. However the implementation of e-government carries potential risks to users. The potential for online identity theft and fraud raises privacy concerns. From a theoretical foundation, fieldwork in Ghana, through interviews and focus groups, is used to investigate the issue of privacy and data protection in e-government implementation in an empirical setting. Interviewees included senior civil servants, political leaders, members of the Select Committee on Communication, academics, university students as well as stakeholders from private and public organisations. The research borrowed from the Straussian grounded theory approach as a technique to analyse the fieldwork data. The results of the study indicate that privacy and data protection does not currently play a significant role in e-government implementation in a developing country such as Ghana. Other factors such as access to information and communication technologies (Internet accessibility) and e-skills were found to be challenges which significantly impact individuals’ use of e-government. The study found that there is a low privacy concern among Ghanaian citizens. This was found to be significantly related to a lack of awareness of privacy issues; and also the national cultural dimensions of Ghanaian society. The study concludes by emphasising the importance of government investing in ICT infrastructure and public education to raise awareness of e-government services, as well as privacy and data protection issues. Implications for research and policy makers are discussed. The study suggests future research to investigate the further impact of privacy awareness on individuals’ adoption of e-government in a collectivist society such as Ghana.
- PhD