Government appoints interim commissioner for open data push

IP Australia’s deputy director general for policy and corporate, Deborah Anton, has been appointed interim National Data Commissioner, the government has announced.

The creation of the new role is part of a broader four-year government open data program.

The government revealed in May it would appoint a commissioner to oversee a new framework that will govern the sharing and release of data held by the government.

Human services minister and minister assisting the prime minister for digital transformation Michael Keenan said today that a mootedData Sharing and Release Act will help “simplify the complex web of more than 500 privacy and secrecy provisions that currently exist across government departments”.

The commissioner “will develop a new framework to improve access to non-sensitive data to help drive growth and innovation within the Australian economy”.

According to figures from the government’s Bureau for Communications Research, boosting access to non-sensitive data could deliver a $25 billion productivity boost to Australia.

The government earlier this year accepted applications for members of the National Data Advisory Council, which will offer advice to the commissioner on a range of technical and ethical issues relating to the release of data.

The council “will provide advice to the National Data Commissioner on ethical data use, social licence and building trust, technical best practice, and industry and international developments,” its draft terms of reference state.

“This includes, but is not limited to, assisting the National Data Commissioner to find the optimal balance between streamlining the sharing and release of data and ensuring the protection of individual privacy.”

The council will have up to 10 members appointed for two-year terms.

In this year’s federal budget the government set aside $65 million over four years to fund data-related initiatives, including establishing the commissioner position.

The bulk of that funding was earmarked for the creation of a ‘Consumer Data Right’ that is intended to offer individuals greater access to the data about them held by businesses.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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