This Week in Data – March 8

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Aussie data sharing right not a sure thing, companies say

Uh oh. Trouble in data paradise? The Aussie consumer data right has been a key part of a growing global movement in consumer information sharing. But now, energy giant AGL says the right is being “rushed” to a July 1 launch date and that things could all fall apart. Their main beef? Right now, it doesn’t feel like consumers are at the centre of the laws. Kind of missing the point then, perhaps.


“An ambitious implementation date for banking (1 July 2019) was set publicly…this ambition has impacted the quality and effectiveness of consultation and regime consideration and meant that energy and telecommunications have effectively been left behind in the discussions.”


Aussies distrust government data sharing

Also in the land down under, Aussies say they’re all for government sharing personal data to make better services – in principle. When it comes to the practicalities? Eh, not so much.

Can’t blame them, the Australian Government has suffered some embarrassing data setbacks (like the medical records controversy). Still, though – The Mandarin says a new poll shows 60% of Australians are scared the Government will use their information to make bad decisions.


“There is policy debate at the moment about how data should be used and shared. If we don’t make use of the data available, that has costs in terms of worse service delivery and less effective government. So, locking data up is not a cost-free option.”

Facebook fights against global privacy laws

As if the social network didn’t need another black mark against its name. The Guardian reports on research from the Observer and Computer Weekly that Facebook has been lobbying against data privacy rights legislation around the world, but with a particular focus in Ireland. Former Prime Minister Enda Kenny is revealed to have played a pretty key role in negotiating with the company.


The memo notes Kenny’s “appreciation” for Facebook’s decision to locate its headquarters in Dublin and points out that the new proposed data protection legislation was a “threat to jobs, innovation and economic growth in Europe”. It then goes on to say that Ireland is poised to take on the presidency of the EU and therefore has the “opportunity to influence the European Data Directive decisions”.


The struggle between personalization and privacy

It’s a tough one. Consumers want personalized offers, but they want their privacy protected as well. How to get around it? AdWeek has some answers: earn their trust even if you didn’t lose it, be upfront about your data practices, and try to strike the right balance between what you need from consumers and what you might only want. Solid advice here.


“Trust comes from transparency, so always be open about what data you’re collecting and how you plan to use it. Don’t wait until a breach hits the headlines to have the conversation. Be upfront about what your company does to protect data and your customers will value your honesty.”


Trump cancer plan to focus on data

Back in January Donald Trump announced a $500 million push for cancer research. Sounds good. Especially since much of that money will focus on sharing research data. But some scientists aren’t super sure that’s the best way to go about it.

Why? Seems like they think the current data sharing methods can’t really be improved all that much, and the money could be better spent elsewhere. Sometimes data isn’t always the answer.


“Data sharing is of the utmost importance and the community is already doing it arguably as well as possible,” says Crystal Mackall of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. And efforts to pool genetic data on childhood tumors may be less productive than for adult cancers…”


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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