Data leaders tapped by govt for advice

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Data leaders tapped by govt for advice

National Data Advisory Council established.

Members of the first National Data Advisory Council have been appointed to guide the national data commissioner on issues including ethical data usage, technical best practice and “social licence building”.

Nine high-profile ethics and data experts were announced by minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan ahead of the council’s first meeting in Sydney today.

The formation of the council was announced last May, along with the creation of a National Data Commissioner role, as a key recommendation of the Productivity Commission’s 2017 review of Australia’s data sharing and release arrangements.

Keenan said the council represents a range of views present in discussions around data management, including those of privacy advocates, industry, the government and researchers.

Government members of the council are information and privacy commissioner Angelene Falk, chief scientist Alan Finkel, and Australian statistician David Kalisch.

Other members of the council include:

  • Associate professor at the Australian National University Nicholas Biddle, a prominent economist who uses integrated public data for a range of tasks, including deliver economic and social benefits to Australia’s Indigenous population;
  • Ellen Broad, an independent consultant in open data, data sharing and artificial intelligence ethics who leads Data61’s technical delivery and consumer data standards divisions;
  • Paul McCarney, Data Republic co-founder and chair, and also co-founder of Data Governance Australia who has more than 20 years’ experience in data, technology and digital business;
  • Dr Joshua Meltzer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC looking at the significance of the internet and cross-border data flows for international trade;
  • Lauren Solomon, CEO of the Consumer Policy Research Centre, an independent, non-profit, consumer research organisation; and
  • Professor Fiona Stanley AC, 2003 Australian of the Year and distinguished research professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Western Australia.

Keenan congratulated the members on their appointment, adding that they will bring “diverse perspectives” to the process of reforming Australia’s data management to be more safe and secure.

“Data held by Government is a hugely valuable national resource that, when used correctly, can drive innovation and economic growth, help to better inform public policy and deliver breakthroughs for researchers and scientists,” he said.

“But maintaining public trust is crucial if we want to unlock the full potential that our data holds.”

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