This week in data – September 21st

This week the Australian Taxation Office’s submission to the Productivity Commission on data sharing caused controversy with some bodies citing privacy concerns about the government pushing too quickly into open data policy based on ‘unspecified benefits’. The detail in the ATO’s submission, however, reveals that they’re largely arguing for the modernization of confidentiality rules to keep pace with technology advances and that any data sharing would be at aggregate level with non-sensitive and anonymized data.

It goes without saying that we here at Data Republic whole-heartedly believe in the positive productivity and social impacts that a government lead approach to open data and inter-department data sharing can have. We’ll be keeping you informed on the evolution of this privacy vs. productivity data sharing debate as the productivity commission deliberates on submissions over the coming months.

In other news….

From ‘unspecified benefits’ to feeding the world, this week the United Nations held a two-day summit for the Global Open Data for agriculture and Nutrition initiative. The theme? A call-to-arms to enable more transparency and sharing of data between countries and companies around the world in order to identify more environmentally friendly and economically viable means of feeding the world’s ever expanding population.

Next, we have the story of a small metro government in the United States (Louisville) using data to cut their energy consumption by 25%! In the short video, Maria Koetter, the Director of Sustainability for Louisville metro, explains their operational approach to data utilization in the fight for reducing energy consumption.

Finally, a group of young scientists in Johannesburg has joined forces using IBM’s cognitive computing system, Watson, to try to figure out a cure to malaria, the deadly disease that killed 438,000 in 2015. The hackers are working towards understanding why Malaria is developing a resistance to artemisinin-based drugs, the most successful treatment so far.

Until next time.

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