Inquirer identification prevents access to information, FGV study reveals

The study reveals a broad range of impacts arising from the abusive collection of personal information.
25 April 2017

FGV’s Public Transparency Program (PTP-FGV), coordinated by professor Gregory Michener (Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration – EBAPE), submitted a document to the Brazilian Department of Transparency, Supervision and Accountability Office (CGU), featuring reform recommendations to be included in Brazil’s annual Open Government Partnership plan.

Written by Michener and researcher Karina Rodrigues, the policy paper focused on the requirement of inquirer identification as an obstacle preventing access to information, based on a study regarding Brazil’s reality and an analysis of identification requirements among 111 countries that have information access laws. Brazilian Law No. 12.527/11 generically addresses the identification requirements in place to submit information access inquiries to public agencies.

The study reveals a broad range of impacts arising from the abusive collection of personal information. In addition to frequently preventing the inquiry from being fulfilled, such agencies’ access to personal information of inquirers could entail several adverse consequences, from discriminating treatment towards inquirers to persecution and threats, as is widely known in the case of the Indian Right to Information Act.

The Public Transparency Program (PTP-FGV) has conducted experiments to test for discriminating replies to information requests submitted by inquirers affiliated to research centers and regular citizens. EBAPE master’s and PTP collaborator, Rafael Velasco gathered statistically relevant results for the Executive Branch, within the municipal level, during his dissertation research.

The partial results of such study have already been presented at congresses held by the American Political Science Association and the Global Conference on Transparency Research. The paper discussing the results of such experiment is currently being concluded, to be published in a scientific journal.

Go to the website for more information, in English, on the Transparency Program.