Thursday, September 4, 2014

Open data's Achilles heel: re-identification; ZDNet, 9/3/14

Rob O'Neill, ZDNet; Open data's Achilles heel: re-identification:
'Governments around the globe are embracing the mantra of open data and talking up its productivity benefits, but none have so far made the re-identification of this mass of anonymised data illegal... The possibility of outlawing re-identification is now being discussed in New Zealand, with both the Privacy Commissioner, John Edwards, and a May report (pdf) from the New Zealand Data futures Forum suggesting legal protections against re-identification may be necessary.
Edwards told ZDNet he is trying to look towards the future and ensure that the value in government data can be safely extracted in ways that maintain public confidence.
“One of the methods might be a prohibition on re-identification. If we did that we would be world leaders," he said.
Similarly, the Data Futures Forum report said it is necessary to develop a "robust data-use ecosystem" and to get the rules around open data right. This should include a data council to act as guardians and advisers, and a broad review of legislation."

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