NZ guidelines aim to promote responsible, trusted data sharing

Independent ministerial advisory group, the Data Futures Partnership, has released a set of draft guidelines designed to help public and private organisations develop policies and practices for sharing data while maintain the trust of the public.

It says the guidelines focus on eight key questions that organisations can answer to explain how they collect and use data, to better build trust with clients and the wider community.

The Partnership was created to bring together a cross-sector group of influential individuals able to provide a collective voice on data issues. It has been mandated by Cabinet to engage with citizens, the private sector and non-government organisations to help drive change across New Zealand’s data-use ecosystem.

To develop the guidelines, the partnership earlier this year commissioned Toi Aria (Massey University) to runOur Data, Our Way- a public engagement programme involving thousands of New Zealanders. The final engagement report is available online.

They guidelines aim to enable organisations to maximise the value of data through building the trust of clients and developing wider community acceptance. Data Futures says New Zealand organisations using the guidelines will be able to follow advice about how to use, and communicate about data in a trusted way.

The guidelines include eight key questions for organisations across the public and private sectors to answer. “These questions and answers help people decide whether there is enough value, protection and choice for them to feel comfortable with the data use,” it says.

Data Futures says comfort around data use is situation specific. “Organisations, particularly when the data use is novel or affects vulnerable people, must set out to build social licence to proceed. This may involve a process of engagement to build social licence. This goes wider than those asked to provide data. It must also involve the wider community.”

At the heart of the draft guidelines is a ‘Transparent Data Use Dial’ that “focuses on eight key questions and provides an easy way for organisations to display (online or on paper) information and for people to engage with it.

According to the guideline “If presented as an online tool, this form of presentation allows people to choose what they are interested in and drill down as needed to access second and even third layers of information. At each layer they receive more in-depth information about each specific aspect of the data use.”

The eight key questions recommended for the dial are: What will my data be used for? Who will be using my data? Is my data secure? Will my data be anonymous? Can I see and correct data about me? Will I be asked for consent? Could my data be sold?

Data Futures says it is working with organisations in the public and private sectors to test and revise the guidelines. It also invites members of the public to download the draft report and provide feedback.

Its web site provides separate links for individuals and organisations, but both download the same set of guidelines.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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