This week in data – 31st May

Fresh off the news Australia’s banks will be pushed into a data sharing arrangement care of the Federal Government, Bank of America has announced a similar venture of its own. Over on, the bank has said it will start allowing customers to share their information with third-party applications.

The financial market is highly fragmented in the United States, and services such as have allowed customers to share their information for years. But Bank of America is following similar efforts from companies like Chase and Wells Fargo.

Back home, Victoria has appointed its first chief data officer – a sign the state government is now taking the oncoming age of data more seriously. The Mandarin reports that former Telstra executive Julian Hebden will get to work looking at how the state government can use data to transform services.

One of Hebden’s big focuses will be building a data analytics capability across government, and then using that information to inform policy making – particularly in family violence.

In other news…

A recently declassified ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court has targeted the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States for breaking data sharing rules. In particular, it says the FBI failed to follow “minimization procedures” designed to stop hostile actors from getting access to personal information.

Reportedly, the FBI shared intelligence data with private contractors. This is just the latest in a string of news stories regarding the US government and the handling of sensitive data, following the presidential election last year when the Democratic National Commission was hacked by what many intelligence officials believe to have be Russian-based hackers.


Los Angeles County and IBM have teamed up to share data regarding child welfare investigations. According to Govtech, the two are developing a plan to create a portal that will let children’s social workers access real-time information on alleged perpetrators. The key is data sharing, which will enable information to be cross-checked across different databases.

Google will start using information including credit card transactions to figure out when people are more likely to visit a bricks and mortar store. The point, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, is to create online ads that could end up being more effective, and therefore more valuable, than any other medium in driving retail traffic.

This is a “revolutionary” move, the company says – and it’s already defending privacy objections, saying it’s already working on ways to protect a shopper’s privacy if their online activity is actually tracked to an in-store sale.

Until next week.

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