The open data effort has not run entirely smoothly. In September the Department of Health released datasets from which doctor and other service provider ID numbers could be extracted, according to Melbourne University researchers.
The revelation led to the dataset being pulled, an Australian Privacy Commissioner investigation and prompted Attorney-General George Brandis to introduce legislation to amend the Privacy Act that will make it a criminal offence to re-identify de-identified government datasets. The amendment is currently before the Senate.
Data held by the federal government was deemed a "strategic national resource" under government policy released in 2015. In December 2015 the government released the Public Data Policy Statement to coincide with the launch of its $1.1b innovation agenda.
Under the policy, government committed to an approach of open by default for non-sensitive data sets and to collaborating with researchers and the private sector to expand the use of government-collected data.
Late last year the Productivity Commission held an inquiry into open data, and a draft report was released in November recommending consumers be given better control over how their personal information is used and shared by government and private companies. The final report is currently with the government.
"We must now ensure that we keep this momentum going in order to fill the gaps highlighted by the global index and build on our initial successes," Taylor added.
Source: CIO Australia
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