This Week in Data – 27 September

This week in data – 27 September: Each week, we compile the best stories in data. Get up to speed on this week in data without having to search for it.


Australians losing $1 billion because car part makers won’t share data

Yeah! Weird, right? The Australian competition regulator, the ACCC, is saying that independent mechanics and car parts dealers aren’t getting access to the right data from manufacturers. That means customers are paying more for their regular services than they need to (because cars are much more complex now than they used to be). 

It’s nice to see a distinct value attached to a data sharing project! 


“Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh quoted from a US Auto Care Association report that estimated data sharing in that country saved consumers US$26 billion a year.”


Aussies look to the UK for open banking

Australia has been ground zero for open banking legislation, but now at least one person in the country says the UK is a good model to follow. Writing for The Australian, Dirk Steller says the UK has made great strides in API management – ensuring protocols around those APIs are able to keep up with political changes. Makes sense.


“For Australia’s own system to be successful over the coming years, we must ensure that any standards we have in place can keep pace with new technologies and regulatory change. This means ensuring that a change management and governance framework is in place becomes an early priority.”


A no-deal Brexit could create a data catastrophe

Not great. The current situation is that data flows between Britain and other Europeon Union nations very quickly and easily. Not only that, but the data that flows between them is worth up to 3.8% of GDP (there’s those metrics again). It’s complex, but if there isn’t a deal reached by Brexit deadline then those flows become harder. 

The consequence? This Wired article points out a University could have its email system stop working because the servers are in another country. 

This is a big deal, with a ticking clock.


“Most small and medium businesses will have real difficulties understanding the legal implications and technical difficulties of data transfers…They will need specialist advice and the engineering capability to make sure that they comply with new rules. And if they don’t, they could get prosecuted.”


Data just as important as other infrastructure

Governments have always used projects like roads and bridges to demonstrate their commitment to build nations. But as the AFR points out, data should be added to that infrastructure list as well. Australia’s head of the Bureau of Statistics argues that the Government is overlooking it – and makes the bigger point that governments should be putting more effort into their research bureaus to at least start any analysis from an objective place.


“Mr Kalisch says part of the problem with promoting the importance of data infrastructure is the recognition of it in the first place. He cited a recent speech by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who may have overlooked the ABS as vital infrastructure.”


Facebook election study plan suffers setback

Remember a while ago, we mentioned that Facebook would start studying elections? Well, it turns out privacy concerns are in the way of that plan. The idea is that professors at universities would get access to massive amounts of social data. That’s huge, because it could change the way we think about elections, and the way certain demographics act in politics.

But…as Science points out, Facebook says it hasn’t figured out a way to do that while still respecting privacy concerns.

They might want to do that first.


In particular, they realized traditional techniques for ensuring privacy, based on anonymization, were no longer adequate. Computer scientists have shown they can identify individuals included in anonymized data sets by using massive computing power to mesh the masked data with other personal information that is already publicly available online.”


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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