This Month in Data – August 2020

This month in data – August 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 has COVID changed the value of data?

The pandemic has forced us all to confront a lot of existing beliefs about work and life. But as CDO Trends points out, it’s also made companies confront how they use data – and what types of data they’re collecting. The site reports many companies had to start thinking hard about data: for instance, you know, where do the employees actually live? Which products should we focus on? How can we save money, quickly? It’s an analytics-driven world. But as the site points out…without a governance framework, that information is useless. 


While leadership plays a substantial role in successful data governance, data workers need to do their fair share. They need to become adept at persuading and working with their peers in other divisions and departments to create shared value for sharing data.”


What the TikTok tussle teaches us

No doubt you’ve heard all the rumblings about whether or not TikTok will be forced to sell its American business. Forget the bluster, let’s focus on the real story: the reason this is happening is because TikTok has data. Lots of it. And as the New York Times says, even if the data being collected by the app isn’t particularly troublesome, it sparks a whole new conversation about the apps we use every day. Short story: this is going to happen again. 


“Whether or not TikTok’s code was doing something nefarious, there is a broader lesson here. As increasingly digital creatures, we often don’t think twice about giving the apps that we love permanent access to information about ourselves.”


Is China winning the data war?

Looks like it. TikTok aside, The Financial Times delves into how far China is racing ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to using data for value. Spurred by the closure of the Houston consulate over claims of data theft, the piece makes the point that Chinese companies are playing the long game, storing data over years in order to exploit it for value at some point in the future. Of course, it’ll be a rocky road to get there. Can Chinese-American relations survive?


“One former intelligence source, based in Houston and involved in cyber protection for energy companies, argues that there has been the significant imbalance between Chinese attitudes towards data and their western corporate counterparts. Some segments of the US economy do thrive on a sophisticated understanding of the value of data, led by Big Tech groups such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple. And individuals are becoming aware of the monetary value attached to their personal data.”


How Europe’s data laws affect Australia

The two places couldn’t be further apart, but data laws are drawing them closer. And not in good ways. The Conversation reports that a new court decision makes it harder for Australian companies to engage with European counterparts. At the centre of this issue is data exporting: basically, Europe has higher standards for how its citizens’ data is kept safe. The only problem? The requirements are…kind of vague.


“It would be sensible to adopt internationally harmonised data protection standards to regulate global data streams. But the world appears currently headed in the opposite direction.”


City data sharing hits a new high

So much advancement with data sharing is happening at the metropolitan level, where cities use data on traffic, movement, etc, to plan better infrastructure. Now, an organization in the United States has developed a policy framework to help cities work together and share that data. Its biggest idea is a “data catalog” – a series of databases that third parties could access whenever they need it. 


“Many cities have open data sets for their citizens, businesses, app developers and so on…But what we see as the next frontier in data-sharing is more about integrating that data together.”


A hackathon to modernize health! 

Allow us to toot our own horn for a second. In August, we teamed up with to launch a health hackathon, designed to help find health-focused solutions. Registration is open now for individuals and teams, and best of all there’s a prize pool of $20,000. Register now


“The hackathon runs from September 8 until October 3 2020 and registration is now open for individuals and teams. Sign up to the Modernizing Behavioural Health Hackathon now.”


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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