Australia needs bi-partisan approaches to the challenges and opportunities of today’s Big Data deluge, claims the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) on behalf of the ICT sector.
AIIA CEO Suzanne Campbell said ‘we cannot allow politics to subsume good policy when the opportunity for better policy and decision-making is obvious’.
In a public statement following last week’s Navigating Big Data Summit in Canberra (keynoted by Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy Minister Stephen Conroy), the AIIA has proposed these ‘calls to action’ from audience and panel discussions:
• Leveraging the National Broadband Network (NBN) infrastructure with cloud computing is essential to unlocking the potential of Big Data technology and analytics across all sectors and businesses of all sizes. Government and business must be educated about the synergies between NBN, cloud computing and Big Data.
• A common language, similar to a data dictionary concept, is necessary to clarify concepts and communications related to Big Data. Vendors, stakeholders, citizens, governments and industry advocates must participate in the conversation on the basis of a shared understanding of concepts.
• Noting the potential need for regulation and/or legislation to facilitate Big Data analytics in future, light touch regulatory regimes are strongly recommended and only initiated as required.
• As comment on the Australian Government information Management Office’s new Big Data Strategy:
—Unlocking the value of data will require further efforts on the Government Open Data policy as well as cultural and behavioral change. Privacy must not be an excuse to decline to share data or avoid taking Big Data imperatives onward and across Government.
—Strong and transparent data governance is critical. Any Big Data strategy must include custodianship principles rather than ‘ownership’ approaches to data governance. Further, governance frameworks and operations must be business not technology driven.
• Applications and uses of Big Data must give consideration to appropriate security and privacy protection policies and practices, especially where data can potentially be contextualised through de-identified data sources.
• In the area of health:
—Personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHR) is a policy critical to the establishment of repositories of (de-identified) data that can be leveraged to inform evidence based clinical practice and care pathways. To this end, existing legislative barriers need to be addressed.
—Infrastructure to enable consolidation of genomic and clinical data mashups is urgently required if Big Data techniques are to support ongoing work in the important area of personalised medicine.
—In the context of realising the potential of Big Data sets, leveraging the PCEHR and its registration process to fast track the feasibility of clinical trials, i.e. to identify if a sufficient cohort is available for testing, should be further investigated.