This Week in Data – 16 August

This week in data – 16 August: Each week, we compile the best stories in data. Get up to speed on this week in data without having to search for it.


Did Twitter share user data without consent?

Maybe! The platform said it’s fixed an advertising bug that shared some user information with ad partners. The info included device data, device type, country code…everything Twitter needs to provide ad tracking facilities. As leaks go, it’s not the worst. But it’s also yet another in a long string of leaks that show information handling by social networks has a lot to answer for.


“In January 2019, Twitter disclosed another bug that exposed private tweets for some Android users for almost five years. Those tweets, meant to stay private, were visible to everyone, and were even indexed by search engines.”


Want doctors to pay you for your data?

Because it might happen. According to Ars Technica, AI researchers in the medical field need a huge amount of information to create new systems that diagnose patients. It’s hard to get medical information, particularly because of how sensitive it is. So there’s a proposal on the table: pay users for it. 

This isn’t farfetched. The idea of owning data is taking root in countries like Australia – they just need to be convinced the trade-off is worth it.


“As the marketplace expands, researchers might make calls for specific kinds of data, and Song envisions partnering with doctors or hospitals so that patients aren’t totally alone in figuring out what types of data to upload. Her team is also looking into ways of estimating the value of particular data before the AI systems are trained so that users know roughly how much they’ll make by giving researchers access.”


Australian regulator targets health breach

Well, speak of the devil. The Australian competition regulator has accused a local doctor booking service of passing on patient information to third parties. Apparently the service allegedly selectively published reviews online making the service appear more liked than it was. Not cool! 


“In June 2018 HealthEngine was condemned by privacy advocacy organisations for its lead-generation business, which included passing on user information to law firms. That same month the company came under fire for the practice of selectively publishing positive excerpts from reviews.”


This modern jet fighter has a data-sharing power

Huh? Weird…but cool. The United States recently showcased the ability for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to feed data back into the department’s central command. Kind of like how Tesla cars feed info to the network. Apparently the data lets the F-35 become a much more accurate indicator for missile defense systems. Cool.


“Ultimately, this shows the F-35’s sensors and connectivity allow it to gather and “seamlessly share” critical information to enable more joint force protection.”


How will brands transform for new data ethics?

With the Australian consumer data right a reality, Australian companies and organisations now have a tangible challenge to deal with. Jane Headon, director of strategy and consulting at Publicis Sapient, writes in Marketing Mag that companies now need to start designing for the “privacy paradox”. But how? Her suggestion: by bringing privacy controls and customer expectations much earlier in the design process.


“It’s refreshing (albeit expected these days) to see a strong human-centred design approach being brought to this new paradigm…It’s time to shore up customer experience, data strategy and trust. Let’s dream that our customers’ wishes – and their rights – will be fulfilled. And that they’ll stick around.”


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

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