This Week in Data – 14 June

Each week we compile the best stories in data, so you don’t have to search for them. Subscribe to Data Republic to stay in the loop.

New UN report says data can change the world….

Well, data and other things. This is actually a big deal: a report developed in part by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma says the world community should coordinate on creating an “inclusive digital future” for humanity. With the noble goal of leaving “no one behind”, the report has a huge number of recommendations.

Among them is a push for “greater collaboration around the use of data”. That includes issues such as money, privacy and government services.


“Developing countries and marginalized communities must have a voice in deciding how these technologies are used. That’s how we can guarantee that, instead of reinforcing old problems, digital technologies are a source of new solutions.”


…and a lot of that change will help with food

Yes, food! The Ecologist points out that in order to meet several of the United Nation’s sustainable development goals, data needs to play a huge part in helping agriculture. This debate is actually being fought across the world: farmers want better access to information. Often, they can’t get it.

But with climate change preparing to permanently affect the ability for farmers to grow food in historical ways, data needs to play a part now. The Ecologist points to initiatives like those in Ghana, where farmers can get access to information about markets, pricing, on a collaborative sharing network.


“With increased Open Data access, the potential to combat not only agricultural issues, but also increase food security and enable innovations to tackle climate change will rise significantly.”


Apple and Microsoft join forces over healthcare

Always nice when we play along. The two companies recently wrote to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, expressing their support for two new rules that let the companies share health data more easily.

The rules basically outline how insurers and providers share information with patients, and those rules dictate what kinds of APIs will allow that information flow. Apple’s happy because it’s on a health kick lately, and Microsoft is the same.

It’s all the better as Microsoft doesn’t even have a healthcare monitoring product right now. But never say never.


““”We have a long history of engaging across our customers to facilitate improved interoperability in our traditional software products and in our cloud computing services,” Microsoft wrote in comments to the agencies.”


Australia is on schedule for a data revolution

The majority of government agencies now agree that data used to deliver government services is an important issue. But things are heating up. This piece in the Canberra Times highlights how some recent ventures – like a system to share data between courts and police in Western Australia – are now pushing Australia towards some big gains.

Not to mention the creation of the Data Integration Partnership for Australia (DIPA) – a group created to make better use of existing public data – and the $29.9 million committed to artificial intelligence funding.

Want to see the future of data in government? Look to the Land of Oz.


“The Australian public sector is entering an exciting era as technological and regulatory forces combine to provide a better environment to process and share data.”


Don’t break companies up – make them share

Yay for sharing! Viktor Mayer-Schönberger is a professor of internet governance at the Oxford Internet Institute. Fancy. With all the recent talk over breaking up companies like Facebook and Twitter – helped along by suggestions from people like US Senator Elizabeth Warren – this idea is getting popular. But wait, Viktor says: it might just be better to make them share information.

The reason? The more you break these companies down, the less valuable their information becomes.


“Privacy isn’t a single issue but a bundle of problems; one among them is the concentration of information power. And while data sharing doesn’t increase individual control, limiting the concentration of information power might protect us from a Big Brother-like situation.”


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

Until next week,

Team Data Republic

Request a demo

Fill out the form and a member of the Data Republic
team will get in touch to arrange a demo.

Get started with Data Republic

Fill out the form and a member of the Data Republic
team will get in touch to talk to you about your data project