Should Australian govts, enterprises open up more of their data?

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Should Australian govts, enterprises open up more of their data?

Productivity Commission commences review of data sharing.

The Productivity Commission is asking government agencies and big business for their views on making their data holdings more open to third parties as part of an inquiry into improving the nation's data sharing.

The federal government pledged to task the Productivity Commission with the data access review as part of its response to the David Murray-led financial systems inquiry report.

The report said banks should be made to share more of their data to allow the industry to operate more effectively.

Today the Productivity Commission opened its inquiry and invited comment from interested parties on its issues paper [pdf].

Commission chairman Peter Harris said the evolutionary change in data collection and analysis meant data sharing policies and culture needed to "move out of the back room and into the showroom".

"Data is core to the development and delivery of most services, to paid and unpaid activities across the economy, and to better quality public policy," the commission said in a statement.

It intends to study the opportunities and risks of opening up more data, while reviewing existing policies and regulations.

For both the public and private sectors, the inquiry will identify the datasets that would provide the highest value to organisations within their respective sectors as well as others in government and enterprise, researchers, academics and the wider community.

It will determine existing legislative impediments to the sharing and linking of data, including cost barriers, while also laying out the concerns of private sector data owners. It will also sketch out a map of existing data sharing initiatives in the country to understand the current state of play.

For individuals, the commission will study ways to improve a person's access to data about them held by both government and business, including whether third-party intermediaries could be deployed to help consumers make better use of their data.

More broadly, options for standardising the collection, sharing and release of public and private sector data will be considered, as will ways to ensure individuals and businesses have confidence and trust in the way their data is being used.

The commission has been asked to keep in mind the government's public data policy statement - part of its $1.1 billion national innovation and science agenda - when conducting the inquiry.

The Productivity Commission is taking submissions on the issues paper until July 29. It will release a draft report later this year and a final report next March.

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