This week in data – 28th June

The 2016 census attracted attention for all the wrong reasons when it suffered an enormous amount of downtime on release – but now the results are coming in, and there are questions as to whether the data is trustworthy.

The ABC has reported that even though the information was released yesterday, there are some red flags to look for: particularly questions that don’t have high response rates, or time-sensitive questions. For instance, question about what transport people took to work that day given the downtime affected when people would be answering the questions.

Given a survey after the census found 42% agreed the census had been a failure “to some extent”, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has some work ahead of them.

Speaking of combatting down-time, Google has opened a competitor to Azure and Amazon Web Services in Australia with a new cloud region for web services. The main benefit for customers is reduced latency, and Google says it will be targeting high-end customers – PwC is already on board.

Meanwhile, the United States’ largest health company will pay a settlement over a 2015 hack that compromised more than 79 million personal records. The payout is a huge one, although the company doesn’t admit any wrongdoing. Medical records are some of the most sought after on the black market, with medical data valued higher than other disparate pieces of information like names or addresses.

In other news…

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods has everyone talking data and groceries!

Venture Beat says the takeover is an example of how businesses with huge amounts of information on their customers will be valued higher than those who don’t have that data. The consequence is that more of this will be coming, it says:

“The Amazon-Whole Foods deal signals the dawn of an era in which data-centric web companies will buy more and more real-world assets and seek to turn those into even more data about consumer preferences and behavior.”

Speaking of Whole Foods, Dataiku data scientist Kenneth Sanford agrees the acquisition is more about data than groceries. Speaking to CNBC, Sanford points out that Amazon now has even more information to anticipate peoples’ needs to create an “auto grocery” experience.

Worth a read

The AFL is going big with data but not everyone is convinced. ESPN has a piece looking at the league’s two data partners, and the somewhat sceptical approach taken by the industry – and coaches – compared to other sports.

The history of the ongoing legal saga between the US Government and Microsoft about data held on overseas servers.

Until next week.

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