This Week in Data – February 1

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Japan and the United States are sharing fingerprints

Crazy, huh? The deal started back in 2014 but has just kicked off, and it’ll allow law enforcement agencies to swap information back and forth. The information can only be shared with relation to suspects of a “serious crime”, which apparently means anything with a punishment of more than one year in jail.


“The NPA says the FBI has fingerprints from about 75 million people and the DHS has the prints of nearly 230 million people. Japanese authorities have the fingerprints of nearly 11 million people who have been taken into custody. There are nearly another 380,000 latent fingerprints taken in cases that remain unsolved.”

The hottest takes for Privacy Day 2019

Blink and you missed it: privacy day flew by pretty fast. But Forbes didn’t miss a thing, gathering 11 different takes on the current state of privacy around the world. Sure, there’s a lot of talk about GDPR and the recent Google fine in Europe.


“Beyond the hefty fines for regulatory non-compliance,” Sagoo says, “companies have begun taking notice of the real reputational damage that could result in a lack of responsibility for protecting and managing their data.” Conversely, Sagoo points out that the potential benefits of investing in effective data protection are vast, including “the ability to personalize and improve customer service and create information-centric business models that give way to new revenue streams.


Australian Government buys a Prime subscription

Well, not really. But it has made Amazon Web Services (AWS) a “protected” provider, which means departments and agencies are now able to use Amazon servers to host and share data. Microsoft is already on the list, but even IBM and Google lag behind. This is just another step in Australia’s moves towards open and shareable government data.


“AWS has a significant customer base inside the Australian government including the Australian Taxation Office and its MyTax portal, and the Australian Electoral Commission, which used AWS to scale its website on election night for the last federal poll in 2016. The Australian Bureau of Statistics also used AWS for the marriage survey last year.”


What is the community benefit of data?

Good question – one that The Mandarin explored this week. The piece makes the point that despite the billions companies stand to gain from using and monetizing data, nothing works if customers don’t trust the process in the first place. And there’s a lot more work to be done there.


“To gain greater licence, both private and public organisations need to be transparent in how they manage data and how effectively they communicate its value. Trust needs to be earned and maintained. How business and government deal with privacy, security and control by an individual over their data will be pivotal to building this trust and gaining social licence.”


Forget companies – individuals are the next big data market

There’s so much talk about data as the new oil, but most providers think about this shift in terms of companies. What about individuals? Salesforce points out the opportunity in giving individual users access to data streams is a huge, untapped market. Radian Partners founding principal Zhu Scott says you could even allow people to monetize their own data.


“In the longer term, such data income could even become a source for a universal basic income in a pervasive AI economy. This kind of approach can help to fulfill the potential of emerging technologies to increase wellbeing and lift society overall.”


The health data industry needs a rethink

The Verge thinks so, anyway. The original health data privacy bill came into effect in the 1990s, but now it appears there’s an opportunity for some improvements. Turns out, the law – known as HIPAA – doesn’t let scientists share information for research purposes in the best way. It both over-protects and under-protects American citizens.


“HIPAA is really about health care data more than health data, experts say, and the law focuses more on the custodians of the data (or who has the data) rather than what kind of data that is, creating plenty of loopholes. It won’t let a pharmacist share your oxycodone prescription, but it will let an online shopping service tell another company that you bought a knee brace.”


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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