Privacy Implications for Information and Communications Technology (ICT): The Case of the Jordanian E-Government

AuthorAkram Almatarneh
PositionPhD Candidate, Faculty of Law University of Wollongong, Australia
Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology
Vol. 6, Issue 3 (2011)
Privacy Implications for Information and Communications Technology
(ICT): The Case of the Jordanian E-Government
Akram Almatarneh
PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law
University of Wollongong, Australia
Abstract: In formation and Communications Technology (ICT) is one o f the fastest
growing sectors in Jordan. The importance of ICT cannot be ignored as it affects all aspects of
Jordanian society including telecommunications, education, banking, commerce and employment.
However, the issue of individual privacy in this sector is a pa rticular challenge as individuals are
disclosing lar ge amounts o f personal i nformation than ever at a time when there are no specific
privacy laws or regulations. This paper identifies this privacy challenge by pro viding a case study
on the electronic government (e-government initiative) in Jordan. The findings of this study are
surprising. Despite that most government agencies have the ability to collect, use and disclose
personal information; only three out of forty government agencies have some sort of guidelines
with regard to privacy policies. The paper argues that the challenge of privacy co uld be resolved
by granting individuals more control over their personal information. Jordanians could be given
the ri ght to access correct information about themselves, and decide when and how t his
information can be used and shared by ot hers. Consequently, the most suitable app roach to
maintain this right to control is by suggesting a comprehensive legal framework to privacy
protection in Jordan.
1. Introduction
Governments and non- governmental organizations worldwide have recognised the benefits of ICT in improving
business and public service, reducing poverty, and e ncouraging governmental improvements. ICT will contribute
to improvements in the provision of basic social services, help to disseminate val uable information on
production and conservation, impro ve the efficiency of governments and enhance the p rovision of education and
health. ICT facilitate, for example, distance learning and provision if an on-line library. Healthcare could be
improved, for example, through electronic health records (EHR) providing a summary of health information
which includes patient demographics, medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiology reports.
EHRs could be incorporate data from any healthcare entity a patient uses and make data easily accessible to
other healthcare professional s. Furthermore, a World Bank report suggested that ICT can play an important role
in combating corruption and making government institutions more transparent b y reducing the opportunities and
incentives for, and increasing the costs of, corruption. It can also empower individual citizens and groups to hold
government officials publicly accountable, by widely disseminati ng information about the government’s actual
performance. The increased ability to gather and send information has negati ve implications for privacy. Some
countries have inadequate data protection laws while oth ers have not adapted to changes in technology to
maintain data protection and people’s right to privacy.
The aim of this paper is to assess and evaluate the level to which the privacy of personal information is
maintained and protected in Jordan. This aim can be achieved by choosing the initiative of e-government as a
case study. This selection is due to the fact that e -government, which is administered by the government of
Jordan, is the largest single entity to have the ability to collect, process, access and transfer personal information.
Further the paper is aiming at examining whether current laws are sufficient for individuals to enforce their
privacy rights or not.

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