Data Governance Australia (DGA) has unveiled a draft Code of Practice that aims to set industry standards and benchmarks for the responsible collection, use, management and disclosure of data.
The Code aims to promote the culture of best practice and drive innovative use of data by increasing consumer confidence and trust in the data-practices of organisations.
In October 2016, DGA hatched a new industry body – led by former ACCC chair, Professor Graeme Samuel – to tackle the opportunities and challenges presented by the subject of data.
Samuel, who is now the chair of the DGA board, said the launch of the Code is timely, since keeping pace with the data economy is a global challenge affecting every industry.
“Data is held in staggering volumes across multiple platforms and consumers are demanding transparency, proving that the time is right for Data Governance Australia to introduce its Code of Practice,” Samuel said.
“This body exists to assist businesses to thrive through innovation and to promote greater productivity while enhancing consumer trust and greater regulatory compliance. Ensuring that businesses gain the trust of consumers is vital, as is the empowerment of the business user through the collective establishment and enforcement of responsible data-practices.”
The Code contains core principles and extends beyond the Privacy Act in several respects by setting higher standards and most importantly does not only apply to ‘personal information’ (as defined by the Privacy Act), but may also apply to ‘data’ about consumers more broadly, the DGA explained.
Its core principles include: no-harm rule; honesty and transparency; fairness; choice; accuracy and access; accountability; stewardship; security; and enforcement.
Industry commentators are praising the Code, indicating it presents Australia with an opportunity to lead the charge in self-regulation and assert itself as a forward-thinking country for the rest of the world to follow suit.
“Data is one of the most valuable assets in our digital economy and there are currently many untapped opportunities for innovation using data,” according to Jodie Sangster, CEO of DGA, and also CEO of ADMA.
“The ways in which organisations collect, use, manage and disclose data will continue to change rapidly with technological advancements. The Code is an initiative to increase consumer trust and drive transparency in data-handling practices. Organisations that meet the standards outlined in the Code will be able to demonstrate that consumer trust is front and centre of their business,” Sangster said.
“Self-regulation is the right approach in the era of rapid transformation,” she continued. “Introducing laws and regulations run the risk of stifling innovation and creating a regime that is not flexible enough to respond to the rate of change.”
Stakeholders, including government, business and consumer groups are invited to submit feedback on the Code up until July 21. DGA is also consulting with relevant government bodies and industry stakeholders about data portability issues.
All submissions and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively through the DGA website at http://www.datagovernanceaus.com.au.