Government releases data sharing guidelines

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 19 March, 2019

Government releases data sharing guidelines

The office of the National Data Commissioner has developed new guidelines governing data use and sharing between federal government agencies.

The guidelines are designed to guide agencies on how to best share and release government data in an appropriate manner, while protecting individuals’ privacy and security.

They have been developed based on five key data sharing principles, which have themselves been based on an internationally recognised privacy framework. These principles are:

  1. “Projects: Data is shared for an appropriate purpose that delivers a public benefit.

  2. People: The user has the appropriate authority to access the data.

  3. Settings: The environment in which the data is shared minimises the risk of unauthorised use or disclosure.

  4. Data: Appropriate and proportionate protections are applied to the data.

  5. Output: The output from the data sharing arrangement is appropriately safeguarded before any further sharing or release.”

Meanwhile, the guidelines will aid in the development of the government’s planned Data Sharing and Release Act, which will seek to simplify the complex web of more than 500 different rules, laws and regulations that restrict access to data to encourage the release of open government data.

Announcing the guidelines, Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan said data held by government agencies has significant potential to enhance public policy and decision-making, while also helping to drive economic growth and development.

“But in order for those benefits to be realised, Australians must have confidence that their privacy and security remains paramount when public sector data is being accessed or shared,” he said.

“The new guidelines released today will help to deliver that confidence by ensuring a more consistent and comprehensive approach to data sharing across the Australian Public Service. The guidelines also recognise that privacy and data use are not mutually exclusive: in fact, we can strengthen privacy by better using and analysing the data we have.”

Image credit: ©Nmedia/Dollar Photo Club

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