The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Bannister, Connolly: The Trouble with Transparency: A Critical View of Openness in e-Government

This paper has been published as: Frank Bannister and Regina Connolly (2011) The Trouble with Transparency: A Critical Review of Openness in e-Government. Policy and Internet 3 (1).


Connolly, R., Dublin City University


Transparency in public administration is generally held to be desirable, something to be fostered and enabled. This long standing idea has gained considerable further momentum with the emergence of e-government and the affordances of computing in general and the Internet in particular. This paper examines the argument that transparency may, in certain and not uncommon circumstances, be inimical to good government and good governance and suggests that the importance of understanding why this is so has increased as information and communications technology permeates government and society. It is suggests that in an electronic age, the scope and nature of transparency needs to be carefully managed and that expectations of the benefits of ICT enabled transparency may be overblown.

Frank Bannister, Regina Connolly