This Week in Data – 21 June

This week in data – 21 June: Each week, we compile the best stories in data. You get everything in your inbox, without having to search for it.


First…we’re so pretty

Sorry, we have to get this out of the way. We here at Data Republic gave ourselves a new coat of paint and we’re excited to show it off. We’re growing quickly and moving into new markets, and this brand really captures a new phase in our company history. Take a look!


“At Data Republic, we’re on a mission to fundamentally change the way the world shares data. Our technology makes it simple for organisations to ‘connect the dots’ when it comes to governing data sharing but our brand was lacking a bit of life.”


Facebook’s new currency has privacy issues

You might have seen this coming from a mile away. Facebook unveiled its new Libra cryptocurrency, with big plans: it wants to bring financial services to hundreds of millions of people who don’t have bank accounts. Only problem? Well, a bunch of problems. Facebook doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to privacy, and Fortune breaks down why.


“Calibra is what cryptocurrency professionals call a “layer two” technology. This means that Facebook will settle accounts on its own internal ledgers and later record the end results, in aggregate, on the wider Libra blockchain…People who use Calibra will have to trust Facebook’s internal firewalls and security measures, of course. And there’s a lot of data here that hackers and snoops might like to access.”


Google hits up old tech for modern privacy

Well this is pretty cool. Google has a new tool that lets data scientists compare data sets with personally identifiable information – and it encrypts the data. You only get to see the results of your calculations, not the data itself. All the benefits, none of the messy privacy problems. Hooray!

The cool part? It’s actually old tech from the 70s. It’s called “commutative encryption”. We totally knew what that meant and didn’t have to look it up, but Wired breaks it down anyway: the data is encrypted using different types of keys, in no specific order. Neat.

Not just neat. Game-changing, perhaps.


“Google is using math to allow two parties who don’t trust each other, but who want some kind of aggregate statistic that’s only available by combining their data, to do that without anyone having any information about the underlying individuals involved.”


Airports want to start sharing data

Air travel is a pain, but it could be made easier if airports share information. That’s what Airport Council International World Director General Angela Gittens told a conference recently, saying that the world’s travel hubs need access to updated information so everyone has a better experience overall. If everyone sees where delays are happening, traffic flow management becomes a lot easier.

Side note, this is what local governments around the world are trying to do with traffic data too.


“Airport collaborative decision making…can improve flow control and optimise the capacity of runways, terminals, gates and airspace so that aviation can continue playing a major role in driving sustainable economic and social development.”


Autonomous car maker shares internal software

Awesome. Cruise is starting to share a software platform that’s really used for visualizing robotic data. It originally created the software as an internal tool, and now it’s opening it up to the world. It’s just another example of how car makers are spearheading massive efforts to share information around the world, and make it easier to understand.


“Cruise isn’t the only robotics-focused company (or autonomous vehicle company for that matter) to open-source data sets or other tools. For instance, Aptiv released last year nuScenes, a large-scale data set from an autonomous vehicle sensor suite.”


Ex-BlackBerry CEO recommends banning personalized ads

Yeah, this is a big one. Jim Balsillie recently addressed a Candian Parliamentary committee on big data and privacy. His recommendations? Among them, the Government should ban personalized advertising for elections, and implement strict data governance regulations for political parties.

Given everything that’s happened with Russian interference, might not be a bad idea. But Balsillie goes further: make CEOs liable for data and privacy breaches.

That’s no small suggestion.


“Technology is disrupting governance and if left unchecked could render liberal democracy obsolete. By displacing the print and broadcast media and influencing public opinion, technology is becoming the new Fourth Estate. In our system of checks and balances, this makes technology co-equal with the executive that led the legislative and the judiciary.”


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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