This week in data – 26th July

The Federal Government’s string of enquiries, rather than action, into open banking data regimes has been questioned by the fintech industry this week, which is concerned about a lack of coordination across a number of reviews.

The comments come amid a recently announced report on an “open banking” model, the May Data Availability Productivity Commission report and the formation of a new data taskforce – all of which are reporting on ways data should be appropriately used to boost the economy. But industry group Fintech Australia says these could overlap and create problems.

“We would like the government to make sure there is a level of coordination between the inquiries given this is a substantial and critically important competition enabler,” Fintech Australia chief executive Danielle Szetho told the Australian Financial Review.

The Australian Banking Association isn’t taking any chances though. The ABA’s executive director of industry policy Tony Pearson said: “It will take a shared effort between banks, governments and fintechs to address issues like ensuring customer privacy is protected, their data is secure and knowing what to do when something goes wrong.”

Meanwhile in the United States, Wells Fargo has been criticised following the release of data containing personal information about thousands of its wealthiest clients.

But this wasn’t a normal hacking attempt. The leak happened as part of a lawsuit, when Wells Fargo handed over, inadvertently, a massive amount of information regarding thousands of wealthy clients – as much as 1.4GB of social security numbers, the size of their investment portfolios, and even their banking fees.

As the New York Times reports, because the material was handed over as part of a lawsuit with no confidentiality agreement attached, it would be completely legal for the material to be released.

But Wells Fargo is already suffering under the spotlight. Bloomberg says the company is already being asked questions about the data breach. Reportedly, representatives from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority contacted at least one of the attorneys involved in the lawsuit for information about how and why the breach happened – and why Wells Fargo wasn’t aware it happened.

The incident is yet another reminder that damaging information leaks don’t have to come from hackers.

In other news:

Nielsen and the IAB Australia have released a new product offering daily digital data feeds to agencies and marketers. The platform will provide users with a daily breakdown of how many people are viewing content across text, video and audio content on a number of devices. The announcement of such a platform comes after Nielsen has spent time updating its other digital monitoring platforms to provide more robust and accurate data sets about viewership.

Would you want your home’s floor plan available to third-party app and product developers? This week, The Verge has made claims that automated “Roomba” vacuum cleaners may have stored data on their owners’ floorplans.

And the data is up for sale. Chief executive of Roomba manufacturer iRobot, Colin Angle, says the data would provide a benefit to users:

“There’s an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared,” he said.

However, there’s a problem – Angle says the data wouldn’t be sold without consent, but there is a clause in Roomba’s terms and conditions which says otherwise.

Worth a read:

Brexit or not, a Parliamentary Committee in the UK has found that the UK will still have to deal with the European Union’s data protection laws to compete in a European and global marketplace. Is the world moving towards a global data protection policy?

Until next week.

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