This week in data – 2nd August

Can a data leak actually bring down a government?

Well, if Sweden is anything to go by…then yes.

The Government there is facing a huge amount of pressure due to a leak from one of its agencies. Specifically, the data leak is centered around on an outsourcing deal between the government and IBM back in 2015, which allowed unauthorised staff at IBM subsidiaries to access information on every registered driver and vehicle in Sweden.

Not to mention people included in witness protection programs.

A month ago, the former Transport Agency head was fined for mishandling the sensitive information. Now, the opposition has called for the removal of key ministers – both the interior and infrastructure ministers have stepped down.

The government currently faces a no-confidence vote – and even though elections aren’t due for another year, Bloomberg reports that many political analysts believe Prime Minister Stefan Lofven may even need to resign, or call for another election.

Should that happen, it may be the first time in history that a data leak has led to the toppling of a government – and may serve as a turning point for how seriously governments take the policies for handling, outsourcing and distribution of public data.

In other news:

It’s a sunny day for weather data enthusiasts!

The Bureau of Meteorology, which has always been good at open data sharing, has announced that they’re making weather data easier to access by ditching outdated FTP technology and moving to an API platform. “Bureau of Meteorology’s mission is to provide trusted, reliable and responsive weather, water, climate and ocean services that enable a safe prosperous, secure and healthy Australia,” a spokesperson told Computerworld Australia.

The BOM has put out a tender seeking API tech that can deal with messages up to 1GB – it’s expecting 30,000 transactions every day.

Worth a read:

Scientific American has published some commentary from scientists on how data science could help lift men, women and children out of criminal exploitation for labour and sex work. The team uses data to identify populations who are most at-risk and then direct prevention campaigns to those areas.

It’s survival of the fittest in retail. The Next Web argues that retailers who want to continue operating need to step up their game: “Investing in AI is not a luxury, it is something all retailers must do if they want to survive — and thrive — in today’s tech-savvy market.”

American real estate site Zillow has had a huge impact on the US property market after launching an algorithm in 2006 that produces an expected value for each listing. ZDnet delves into how the site uses data transparency to benefit its customers, and the impact this has on the entire property industry throughout the United States

Until next week.

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