This Week in Data – September 21

The ethics of data flow

Huh? It’s a thing, apparently. Makes sense, too – if you need to be ethical about the data you collect, you need to be ethical about the way that information flows from one source to another. O’Reilly takes a look at this in a deep way: Cambridge Analytica wasn’t a data collection problem. It was a data flow problem.

Rethinking data collection with this lens changes everything.


“Data flows have complex topologies: multiple inputs, outputs, and feedback loops. The question isn’t just where your data goes and how it will be shared; it’s also what incoming data will be mixed with your data.”

Australian states are finally sharing data

Woohoo! The states all got together to talk about giving each other information. First topics on the agenda? Identity information and children who spend time in foster care. They also talked about building better ways to keep digital records. Nothing solved yet, but hey, it’s a start.


“…the new council’s first meeting was a chance for ministers to discuss “the need to address the digital divide” and learn about what each other is already doing in the digital government space.”

Speaking of the Aussies, energy prices are out of control

Is data the answer? Maybe. The Conversation looks at this topic in light of the government’s new consumer data rights. Many Australians use smart energy meters, and that information could be used to get better deals. But…will people want to give it away?


“There are numerous implications, not least of which is charging vulnerable consumers deemed “less desirable” higher prices and limiting the products and services on offer.”

How is big data changing real estate?

In a bunch of ways, actually. Companies like Zillow now have huge dependencies on data to keep people informed about housing values. Finance Magnates takes a dive into this world and has a warning for realtors: you better start educating yourself with data, and fast.


“Buyers will increasingly use their smartphone during the search process – often times before first talking to an agent. Realtors who adapt and embrace big data will add considerable value to their relationship with clients.”

The five big blockers to Health and Human Services data sharing

Man, this is a big one. A report looking at data sharing in the Health and Human Services department came up with five reasons why it can’t seem to get ahead: processes, technology, privacy regulations, risk management, and resource constraints. So you know, like, everything.


“We cannot advertise the availability of the data to other agencies because we don’t have enough expertise [or resources] to process the requests when they come in.”

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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