by Byron Connolly

Protecting privacy key challenge for govt data sharing

Apr 22, 2016

Protecting the privacy of information shared between agencies will be a key challenge for the NSW Data Analytics Centre (DAC), according to the newly-appointed chair of its advisory board, ASX CIO, Tim Thurman.

The DAC was launched last August to serve as a data sharing platform between government agencies to provide insight into the effectiveness of existing policies. The NSW government will use data to support ongoing policy development to ensure investments are targeted at programs that provide the greatest benefit to the community.

Thurman said the new advisory board – made up of several senior executives in the private sector – will find technologies that will make it safer for agencies to share information.

“Part of the experience I bring to the group is working with data across multiple asset classes… we [the ASX] are constantly moving data around from group to group.

“I have technology that I utilise that allows me to do that very safely. I push data into our websites, I share data with our clients who are quite trusting with the data that I have. So we make it our priority to make sure that it is protected,” he said.

Thurman said the DAC was currently working on 12 data projects – covering areas such as fire safety and health – but he declined to provide further details.

“The idea is about accessing data across [NSW] government agencies to bring it to the point where we can actually mine it and create more efficiencies by having a cross-functional look at data from the various agencies,” he said.

Thurman said the group may be able to mask data well enough that it could hold hackathons with fintech hub Stone and Chalk, as well as startup hub, Fishburners.

These events will help the DAC conduct ‘proof of concepts’ and gain more insights into what can be done with the data, Thurman said.

Stone and Chalk’s CEO, Alex Scandurra, and Fishburners’ general manager, Murray Hurps, are both on the advisory board.

In January, the ASX paid $14.9 million for a 5 per cent equity interest in New York- headquartered Digital Asset Holdings, to fund the initial development work for a new post-trade solution for the Australian equity market.

Thurman said blockchain technology is adaptable for use in the NSW health sector.

“When you are building these ledgers, from a health point of view, you could put everyone’s medical details on a ledger on a blockchain and spin nodes up that will allow data to be shared by hospitals and doctor’s offices,” Thurman said.

“So when you walk into a doctor’s office off the street … they will have your medical details instantaneously. That’s what the possibilities are at a very high level.”