To help the people of Mongolia take ownership of their personal data, its government recently required that notifications to be sent to citizens when government agencies use their data. This is to an extent not usually seen in many countries.
For example, if a Mongolian makes an application to the tax authority, he will get a notification through an electronic government services app that the authority is checking his data when processing the application. If he does not get this alert, he can file a complaint through the app, called e-Mongolia, to a centre that comes under the Mongolian prime minister’s office. For healthcare, if a doctor checks a patient’s health records, the patient will be notified on the app about this. It tells him which hospital and doctor were involved, and the time this check was done, among other things.
Mongolia’s Parliament passed the Law on Personal Data Protection in December last year and it took effect in May. It is said to be more stringent than the previous legislation when it comes to personal data. According to Ministry of Digital Development and Communications, in future, the government will develop a system in which citizens can give approval for the use of their data. If they refuse, their data cannot be accessed.
Notifying citizens when the government uses their data is one way Mongolia is trying to balance its aims of digitalising with rising online threats such as cyber attacks and scams.
In October 2020, the country launched the e-Mongolia platform to provide citizens with more government services digitally. Initially, there were about 180 public services available. Now, this has grown to over 650. For instance, citizens living in the countryside, like herdsmen, can apply for passports online instead of spending hours travelling to towns or cities to do so.
The government is also working to digitalise the healthcare sector. Citizens can make appointments with hospitals and get medical test results online.