Computer Matching by Government Agencies: The Failure of Cost/Benefit Analysis as a Control Mechanism
|Title||Computer Matching by Government Agencies: The Failure of Cost/Benefit Analysis as a Control Mechanism|
|Year of Publication||1994|
|Corporate Authors||Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd|
|Publisher||Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd|
|Place Published||Australia (AU)|
|Keywords||Australia (AU), data matching|
During the twentieth century, public administration has increasingly involved intensive use of data about individuals. The explosion of network traffic is making vast additional volumes of transaction data available. Monitoring of individuals through their data is both possible and much cheaper than conventional physical and electronic surveillance. As a result, data surveillance is burgeoning. Computer matching is a key facilitative mechanism in the monitoring of populations.
External controls over dataveillance activities may not be necessary if intrinsic mechanisms are adequate. Cost/benefit analysis (CBA) is a well-established means of assessing the net value of a project. Used effectively, it should ensure that data processing applications are not commenced, and not continued, unless there are net benefits. This paper reports on research into the extent to which the use of CBA has prevented unjustified uses of computer matching by government agencies in the United States and Australia.
The conclusions reached are that: