This Week in Data – April 23

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Farmers are getting the short end of the data stick

Turns out, farms generate a lot of data points and Australia is taking notice. Just recently, the Government included a farming group in a list of organisations that must adhere to privacy standards. Why is this a big deal? Data is generated by farms, including weather systems, livestock tracking systems, smartphone mapping, etc, but that data is often taken and used without farmers’ consent.

This isn’t just about locating cows, either. Farmers can be at a serious disadvantage if they don’t have information about their own farms.


“Within industries, anecdotal stories abound about banks and insurance companies knowing more about the incomes and businesses of farms than the individual farmers themselves.”


British pregnancy group fined £400,000 over privacy breach

Another day, another privacy breach. This one is a little different. A pregnancy club in the United Kingdom, Bounty, shared information about 14 million individuals – without their consent. That’s huge, especially considering the nature of the data included information relating to pregnancy.

The worst part? The group wasn’t just collecting the information for its own purposes. It was acting as a data broker, yet another sober reminder that information has become an increasingly lucrative commodity.


“It is not illegal to be a data broker in such a manner, but it is illegal under both the Data Protection Act 1998 and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation to improperly share personal data without clear, explicit user consent.”


Spotify founder explains why the company doesn’t sell data

Everyone knows companies like Spotify are sitting on a huge amount of valuable information, but the streaming service’s founder has just explained why the company doesn’t sell it. Not only does the company have information on how songs perform, but that information could be used to inform entire industries about competition. Daniel Ek takes a different approach, saying a user’s data is theirs – Spotify is just recording it.


“If we can use the data in order to make the Spotify experience better, then all good and great. And I think many users would say yeah, I agree with that… But I do think it’s great for customers that there’s something like G.D.P.R. there. And you can delete the data.”


Can Australia teach the world how to live in smart cities?

The rise of smart-cities has local governments all over the world thinking about how to integrate data recording, artificial intelligence and more efficient planning. But could Australia be the answer? The Australian Financial Review argues that given the country’s high urbanization rate – 86% of the country lives on 0.22% of the land area – it has a solid place to lead the advancement of smart cities around the world.


“Technologies such as those developed by CSIRO’s Data61 project N1 Analytics, make privacy-preserving data sharing and de-identification truly possible. Smart cities present an opportunity to test the potential of these new techniques before they are applied to all industry sectors; health, agriculture, energy, banking and consumer services.”


Data and money are now permanently intertwined

At least, that was the major finding from the recent Money 20/20 conference in Singapore, where a number of attendees – including our own co-founder Danny Gilligan – explored the consequences of how data could influence future financial markets. One thing we pointed out there was that the regulatory environment around data is changing all the time.

Which makes the nature of this industry unpredictable – but also exciting.


“One thing that is for sure, the data imperative is not going away and some companies, particularly in emerging Asia, have been quick to understand the potential uses of structured and unstructured data.”


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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