Ethics Policies in New South Wales
When it comes to Big Data, most countries are slow to make legislation or regulations regarding the collection, storage, and management of data. In fact, the majority of countries around the globe have no laws or plans to handle the massive amounts of information produced by the government. Government data in most countries is divvied up between parts of the government, local agencies, and data collection firms. This makes it extremely difficult to gather truly meaningful insights about the societies we live in. Until policies departments started sharing open warrants and who they were on the lookout for, it was so much easier for criminals to escape by fleeing to another town.
However, the government of New South Wales in Australia was the first to make data analytics legislation. The NSW Data Analytics Centre (DAC) was established in 2015 to lead in whole-of-government data analytics. What this means is on an exponentially larger scale, the government will be able to have insights into crime, the spread of disease, overpopulation, and other crucial societal segments. Now they’ll have the ability to tap into nearly every government record to assess their impact on crime, pollution, and more.
The DAC supports legislation that was passed in 2015 to ensure government-wide data sharing. Data Sharing (Government Sector) Act 2015 No 60 establishes not only the sharing of data between multiple government agencies but also the data sharing safeguards and standards. Part 3 of the Act covers data safeguards which includes healthcare and personal information.
Part 2 of the Act details how government agencies may share data. First is through voluntary data sharing, next is a request for data sharing, followed by direct order. Lastly data sharing may be facilitated by sharing results of a DAC projects with individual agencies.
The plan I found most similar to the NSW’s Data Sharing Act of 2015 plan was the Federal Big Data Research and Development Strategic Plan. Though not a perfect match in their functions of the Data Sharing Act of 2015 the plan was conceived out of the Big Data Research and Development Initiative launched by the Obama Administration in 2012. The purpose was to harness the multitude of benefits provided by Big Data.
The strategic plan hopes to create a national Big Data ecosystem in order to discover and take action based on the resources provided in new, diverse datasets. The plan consists of six main components. The first component of the strategic plan leverages Big Data technologies to create scalable systems and “next-generation capacities”. The second effort vows to ensure the trustworthiness of data. This effort outlines quantification approaches to data collection and storage. It also mentions researching metadata frameworks to evaluate trust in data. It also drives home that humans will be heavily involved in the semantic interpretation of data so interdisciplinary research is necessary.
One of the most important pieces of the strategic plan is the strategy to increase the value of data through policies that promote data sharing. This foreshadows legislation that would enable and define how and why governments will share data with each other. In addition, the plan also ensures to take privacy, security, and ethics into consideration during data collection, sharing, and use. In addition, the Plan even covers improving Big Data education to fill the demand for deep analytical talent.
This plan has the potential to solve many issues involving our declining healthcare system, why violent crime is prevalent in some cities more than others, and how to reduce crime levels and improve education. One of the major issues surrounding most aspects of data analysis are proper data collection techniques, including informed consent, and data storage security. One of the negatives about compiling data from these sources means our government can have a truly in-depth data-based profile on each of us down to the details. This may be used to protect us or profile us.
Though the Federal Big Data Research and Development Strategic Plan doesn’t outline who may request data and when it does set a baseline for the inclusion of data analytics in whole-government solutions. The data analysis provided when searching these massive sets of diverse data for patterns can be crucial to making data-driven laws and regulations.