This week in data – 5th July

The Federal Government is all about data right now. A taskforce has been formed to respond to the recent Productivity Commission report which found that Australia needs to up its game when it comes to data sharing – both when it comes to regulation, and business.

Led by Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Angus Taylor, the taskforce will also examine recommendations including the creation of a “comprehensive right to govern consumer data”, which would allow consumers to have perpetual access and use of data help by different organisations – they could even request a copy or edits of it.

“We are not going to miss this chance,” Taylor said according to Innovation Aus. “Improving the way we use and share data will improve delivery of government services, and deliver greater choice and outcomes for us all.”

The taskforce comes at an opportune time – a new piece at The Mandarin examines the government’s data disasters during the past year, and it’s not looking good. While there have been some positive steps, including the passage of data breach notification law, negative developments have included the census hack, which took the site offline, a data breach of Parliamentary Services, or the Centrelink “robodebt” controversy.

There’s even been additional reports this week that Medicare patient details are available for sale on the darknet.

The result? A loss of trust in government, the piece argues – which could have deeper consequences for us all:

“Because if the public loses faith in the government’s ability to handle personal information properly, then big-ticket, transformational policies and programs will stall, and public benefits will not be realised.”

Finally, new privacy laws in the European Union will affect how companies share data. Threat Post reports that companies in the United States are bristling at the changes, which are far more stringent than current US laws.

The core of the trouble is that the EU defines personal data very broadly, suggesting that personal data is anything that can identify a person directly, or indirectly – as opposed to the United States where data definitions are much more specific.

But there’s a bigger kicker: any US company that processes the data of a person in the EU is subject to the EU’s laws. Clare Sullivan, Georgetown University professor at the Law Center, says it’s going to make doing business in the EU harder.

In other news…

Ellipsis, a Certified Partner of Data Republic, has launched Return on Loyalty®, a new data-led consulting offering that allows clients to accurately measure the return on their loyalty and customer retention initiatives. Check out their whitepaper on measuring loyalty ROI.

The chatter surrounding Amazon’s acquisition of Whole foods continues, with a key insight emerging: much of the hype surrounding this deal lies in the data.

Specifically, CNBC examines, the idea that Amazon will now be able to gather more information the grocery habits of their consumers. Combining those two sources of data, Amazon will be able to build sophisticated profiles of its users and feed that information into its artificial intelligence tools.

But there’s a challenge, according to one commentator: Amazon will need to “separate the profitable businesses that can be better done online and the profitable businesses that can be better done at retail”.

Worth a read

Google was smacked with a €2.4bn fine by the European Union last week, after a seven-year antitrust investigation. But The Guardian examines the fact that Google’s strategy has expanded far beyond advertising and search results that were the concern of the lawsuit, into data platforms that will eventually render search platforms obsolete.

With so many connected devices now coming to market, Tech Pro Research has made a stark claim – that we’re on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution. CEOs need to start thinking about how to develop cohesive Internet of Things strategies, the piece claims, along with the infrastructure, risk management and security to protect the data that will become the backbone of future business models.

Until next week.

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