Disintermediating Government: The role of Open Data and Smart Infrastructure

AbstractGovernments are increasingly negotiating the adoption of civic technologies to improve government functioning and to better connect with citizens. Despite the benefits of civic technology to make government more efficient, effective, and transparent, there are many challenges and even unintended outcomes to civic technology adoption. This exploratory paper presents a conceptual argument using two types of civic technology; open data and smart city infrastructure, as examples where their procurement by government can disintermediate government from citizen. This disintermediation can have both positive and negative outcomes for different parties. Four mechanisms that drive this disintermediation are discussed, including the use of legal frameworks, jumping of scales, conversion of public to private goods, and the creation of standards. These mechanisms can serve to shift the role of government from a service provider to a more background role as a data custodian or regulator, opening many opportunities for other actors, including private sector to assume critical roles in service provision.

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