This Month in Data – April 2020

This month in data – April 2020

Data is an incredibly powerful weapon in the global fight against COVID-19. We’ve collected the best resources and insights to help businesses take practical steps during this trying time.


How can we trust data analysis in health insurance?

Over the past several years, health insurance providers have attempted to provide more value (or higher prices) by attaching analytics data to premiums. The rise of wearable health trackers has greatly accelerated this. In a new article in the WHO Bulletin, some researchers took a look at the trend. Their thoughts? Data is great – but providers need strong data governance first.

In short? We aren’t there yet.


“Current insurance governance also fails to give insurers incentives to be more responsive to the needs of insured people or to apply big data analytics in ways that are trustworthy.”


Australian tracing app continues rollout

With Australian caseloads now starting to come under control, the Federal Government is encouraging citizens to download its COVIDSafe app. There have been plenty of concerns about how the data is stored, who has access to it, and for how long. Thankfully a private audit gave the app a thumbs-up, and over two million downloads have been recorded so far.

The only question? If it’ll actually have an impact.


“The government wants at least 40 percent of the population to download the app in order to have the best chance to reducing the spread of coronavirus.”


How can privacy work with COVID-19 eradication?

The challenge of protecting peoples’ privacy alongside new apps and digital services to combat COVID-19 is a tough one. Bloomberg takes a look at how several businesses, including Google, have fared with this. But the real news is tucked away at the bottom: companies have sought delays to privacy regulation to help assist this situation. Does this suggest the incoming laws were already inadequate?


“Business groups have used the pandemic to seek a delay in privacy rules, including a March letter from dozens of trade groups that urged California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to delay enforcement of the state’s new privacy law for six months due to Covid-19. The groups represent advertisers, tech companies, financial services firms, telecom providers, retailers, toymakers and more. Becerra’s office said it wasn’t planning any delay in the July 1 enforcement date.”


Privacy protections aren’t equal

One fascinating aspect to consider here is what people think about when it comes to “privacy”. This survey takes a comprehensive look at opinions across jurisdictions. Among the findings? Those in Singapore and Spain are happy sharing more data than others around the world. Bottom line: people will share data if they see a clear link to public health.

On the other hand, they’re happy sharing it with health authorities – not governments.


“The overwhelming majority of respondents were concerned or extremely concerned about the health risks that the pandemic poses to their family or community, as well as the economic impact of the crisis. Those levels of concern were slightly greater than fears about their own personal health.”


COVID-19 as an analytics problem

Putting privacy to the side, one of the other data-related problems with regard to COVID-19 is just the sheer amount of information that requires processing. With labs working around the world decoding the virus. But the effort goes beyond biological: researchers are now using tools like natural language analysis to determine how social distancing measures have impacted viral spreads.


“Information about how people are moving, the effect of travel restrictions or stay at home orders, how many people have what – that’s data we can get. The more details we can get, the better, and a lot of that data is starting to be shared because you don’t have to say who the people are, just where the people are.”


That’s our wrap for this month. Thanks for reading – we hope you found it entertaining and informative. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these articles and anything else data related!

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Until next month,

Team Data Republic

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