Nothing to Hide: Tools for Talking (and Listening) About Data Privacy for Integrated Data Systems


Data-driven and evidence-based social policy innovation can help governments serve communities better, smarter, and faster. Integrated Data Systems (IDS) use data that government agencies routinely collect in the course of delivering public services to shape local policy and practice. They can inform the design and implementation of programs, help measure and evaluate outcomes across the lifecourse, and enable policy-makers to better address complex social problems.

Respecting privacy is paramount to IDS’ success. The use of IDS to link sensitive personal data is typically governed by stringent local, state, and federal privacy laws and regulations, as well as rigorous technical safeguards and ethical norms. Nevertheless, individuals and communities routinely have questions and concerns about how their information is used and protected.

For lasting success, IDS need to develop “social license” to integrate data. Ultimately, societal acceptance and approval depend not merely on legal compliance with privacy rules, but on legitimacy, credibility, and public trust. Inclusive public engagement and effective communications around privacy are necessary for IDS to build trust in the public sector and to create strong, sustainable relationships with the communities they serve.

In order to help IDS and government leaders engage stakeholders and increase communities’ trust in the value of IDS, Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) have created the Nothing to Hide toolkit.

This toolkit provides IDS stakeholders with the necessary tools to support and lead privacy-sensitive, inclusive engagement efforts. A narrative step-by-step guide to IDS communication and engagement is supplemented with action-oriented appendices, including worksheets, checklists, exercises, and additional resources, available below.


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Appendix B – Communications Talking Points and Exercises

Appendix C – Engagement Worksheets, Checklists, and Sample Materials