This Week in Data – December 14

Each week we compile the best stories in data, so you don’t have to search for them. Subscribe to Data Republic to stay in the loop.

Australia passes ‘dangerous’ anti-encryption law after bipartisan compromise

TechCrunch reports, the bill, in short, grants Australian police greater powers to issue “technical notices” — a nice way of forcing companies — even websites — operating in Australia to help the government hack, implant malware, undermine encryption or insert backdoors at the behest of the government.


opponents warn (as they have for years) that any technical backdoors that allow the government to access end-to-end encrypted messages could be exploited by hackers.”

Data sharing and the California wildfires

The Californian wilderness has been devastated by fires. Wired delves into a fascinating part of this tragedy: the data behind air sensors that measure just how harmful ash-filled air can be. A bunch of groups have formed the Air Sensor Workgroup, an initiative to share data with common measurements.


“People only began caring about radiation measurements when the Fukushima Daiichi site started spewing radioactive material, and the organizations that held that data were reticent to release it because they wanted to avoid causing panic. However, the public demanded the data…”


The biggest data breaches of 2018

It seems like there’s a new one every week, and according to this Business Insider story…that’s probably not far from the truth. You might have forgotten some of the more minor breaches, like the five million affected by Saks and Lord & Taylor, but Timehop’s 21 million or Ticketfly’s 27 million? Those are a little harder to forget.


“Some of the biggest victims in 2018 include T-Mobile, Quora, Google, and Orbitz. Facebook dealt with a slew of major breaches and incidents that affected more than 100 million users of the popular social network.”


Aussies focus on national data sharing…

Instead of taking a state-based approach, now governments across Australia have come together to discuss a national strategy. The plan from the Australian Digital Council is to make government services online by 2025…but not everyone is convinced.


The announcement was met with hesitation from the Queensland government, with the state’s Minister for Digital Technology Mick de Brenni warning Keenan against using the ADC to “water down” regulations that keep Australians safe, likening the proposed projects to a “Trojan Horse”.


…and cracks down on banking competition…

Australia is a huge leader in open banking, and now the country’s national competition regular wants to make sure it stays that way. The ACCC says that while banks didn’t raise prices to cover fees from a national banking levy, it does have a lot of “opaque” charges that discourage competition. Could open banking help?


Our Open Banking reforms will revolutionise the ability of consumers to shop around for a better deal. By giving individuals access to personal data currently held by their bank, they will be able to better compare prices and switch between products and providers.”


…then makes data a human right

Phew, that’s a lot of Aussie news. But with good reason: the consumer data right legislation has been delayed into 2019, and QMV principle consultant Jonathan Steffanoni says it needs to be a priority…or the country risks falling behind.


“Those who control data will find themselves in positions of great power and commercial advantage. There has been a proliferation in data production and capture, and much of this is controlled by tech and financial institutions.”


The secrets to Waze data partnerships

How does Waze get all its data? It’s all in the partnerships: the company has created a system whereby it provides feeds that are updated every two minutes. The result? Cities can see exactly what’s happening on their roads and when – then use the data accordingly. GCN reveals all the secrets in this in-depth write up.


“The U.S. Department of Transportation has pointed to Waze as a potential provider of transportation data. Dan Morgan, the agency’s chief data officer and acting chief technology officer, said at a conference earlier this year that the agency was looking at using Waze…”


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

Request a demo

Fill out the form and a member of the Data Republic
team will get in touch to arrange a demo.

Get started with Data Republic

Fill out the form and a member of the Data Republic
team will get in touch to talk to you about your data project