Reply to email to the Department of the Attorney-General regarding re-identification of open data sets received Nov 2, 2016
Thank you for your inquiry to the Attorney-General’s Department on 20 October 2016 (our reference ZS4RDM) about the Privacy Amendment (Re-identification Offence) Bill 2016.
The sentence from the article you have asked about is, in our view, not accurate. The Bill contains two criminal offences:
- intentionally re-identifying Government data published on the basis it was de-identified (proposed section 16D), and
- intentionally disclosing re-identified Government data of that kind to anyone other than the Government agency which published the data (proposed section 16E).
Merely disclosing that de-identified data published by Government could be re-identified, or speculating about the possibility of re-identification, would not be an offence.
Also relevant are the notes contained in sections 16D and 16E in the Bill, which refer to ancillary offences under the Commonwealth Criminal Code. These ancillary offences could include aiding or inciting someone to commit one of the offences contained in the Bill. Ancillary offences of this kind require a link between a person’s conduct and the committal of the principal offence, and the elements of these ancillary offences must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Neither of these requirements would likely be satisfied if a person has done nothing more than state that Government data is re-identifiable or theoretically vulnerable to re‑identification.
Email to the Department of the Attorney-General regarding re-identification of open data sets on Oct 20, 2016
A Bill was recently introduced to the House of Representatives to criminalise re-identification of open data sets. In an article at http://www.itnews.com.au/news/brandis-wants-two-year-jail-sentence-for-re-identifying-govt-data-439295, ITNews includes the following statement:
‘It will also be a criminal offence to publicly disclose revelations that supposedly de-identified data is not really anonymous, with the same maximum penalties in effect.’
This sentence seems to imply that it is an offence merely to talk or speculate about the anonymisation of government datasets. I could not find any reference to this in the Bill so am seeking clarification from the office of the Attorney-General about whether it is an offence simply to talk about re-identification and its consequences for privacy when this conversation involves no attempt or encouragement to re-identify government data?
Reply to email to the Senate Economics Committee relating to the process of the 2016 Inquiry received Oct, 27 2016
Sorry about the delay in getting back to you.
Every submission is read before it is accepted by the committee. Public hearings are used by Senate Committees to clarify, and if necessary expand up, received in written submissions. There is some information on the operation of public hearings on the Parliament’s website. If you would like further detail Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice is the best resource to consult. Chapter 16 considers the work of Senate committees.
Your other questions go to deliberations and decisions of the committee which I am unable to assist with.
Email to the Senate Economics Committee relating to the process of the 2016 Inquiry dated Oct, 21 2016
I have some questions about the process of the Inquiry into the 2016 Census that I am hoping you can help me with for my own education and for the purposes of sharing with others who have made submission to the Inquiry:
Is it the case that every Committee member must read every submission? If not, in what ways is it ensured that all submissions are taken into account by the Inquiry?
Will the public hearings span the whole terms of reference including data sharing privacy?
How did the Committee decide which submission(s) would be read out in Parliament during the Inquiry?
How was the decision made that 45 minutes of the Inquiry would be provided for ‘civil society’?
On what basis does the Committee choose who is invited to appear before it?
More specifically, how does the Committee determine who among the submissions is speaking on behalf of ‘civil society’ and who is representing the interests of the government or business?
thank you for your time,
Reply to email sent to Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet regarding the change in governance of cross portfolio data linkage projects received Oct 28, 2016
Thank you for your follow-up enquiry, in early 2015, PM&C led an in-house study which sought to identify how the Australian Public Service (APS) could make better use of data (link to PM&C report). On investigation, they found that the existing governance structure for data matters within the APS was fragmented, with overlapping governance bodies, working groups and committees.
In response to these findings, the Report recommended that the Commonwealth should streamline the existing governance structures (Recommendation 6(c)) and put out a call for Data Champions (Recommendation 1(c)).
In implementing these Recommendations, three primary groups were established:
- Secretaries Data Group – guides transformation issues and drives data leadership and work across the APS to overcome identified barriers;
- Deputy Secretaries Data Group – responsible for progressing the recommendations put forward in the Public Data Management Report, assisting in the implementation of transformation issues across the APS, and governing the data ecosystem across the APS; and
- Data Champions Network – drive cultural change regarding public data across the Commonwealth.
Page 31 of the aforementioned report contains diagrams which describe the previous and current governance models. The current model offers clear lines of reporting and responsibility.
In moving to the new governance structure, the oversight responsibilities of the Cross-Portfolio Data Integration Oversight Board have transferred to the Secretaries Data Group and the Deputy Secretaries Data Group. These responsibilities include oversight of data integration projects across the Australian Government, such as the MADIP project.
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
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Note to media: Unless otherwise agreed, the information contained in this email is for background only and not for attribution.
Email sent to Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet regarding the change in governance dated Oct 19, 2016
Thank you for your earlier response confirming the change in oversight of cross portfolio data integration projects. As I have not found any publicly available information other than two reports produced by DPM&C on public data which refer to this change, I am wondering if you could provide me with a fuller explanation for the change in oversight framework?
The below outlines the Secretaries Data Group and MADIP.
The Secretaries Data Group and Deputy Secretaries Data Group, established in November 2015, have oversight of Data Integration Involving Commonwealth Data for Statistical and Research Purposes, replacing the Cross Portfolio Data Integration Oversight Board.
MADIP is an Australian Government cross-portfolio partnership to enable better use of existing public data for research and statistical purposes. There are five partner agencies: the Department of Social Services, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Health, the Australian Taxation Office, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The project is currently in evaluation phase. There is a Project Board consisting of representatives from each partner agency.
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
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Note to media:Unless otherwise agreed, the information contained in this email is for background only and not for attribution.
Response to email to the ABS requesting a list of the information that is created about individuals at unit record level from the Multi Agency Data Integration Project received Oct 28, 2016
Dear Ms Williams,
Thank you for your enquiry about the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP).
MADIP is in the early stages of development and the ABS and other partner agencies are working through the details of how we will safely make this important public data more widely accessible, including to researchers for statistical analysis. Until the ABS and partner agencies finalise the approach to MADIP, examples of CURF level data will not be available. All data involved in MADIP is subject to the Census and Statistics Act 1905, so no information can be released outside the ABS in a manner that is likely to enable the identification of an individual – all data will be anonymised.
The datasets provided for MADIP were one-off extracts of data relating to the 2011 reference period as part of an evaluation project. There are no plans at this stage for ongoing provision of data for additional time points, though there is acknowledgement that additional data is likely to be beneficial to better inform on outcomes for policy and research purposes.
The MADIP project has the potential to improve transparency and inform evidence-based policy which will provide better outcomes for all Australians. More information about the ABS’ data integration work and its approach to privacy and security of data is available on the Data Integration page of the ABS website.
If it is convenient, we would be happy to meet with you to discuss the project or data integration more generally. Please let me know if this is of interest and we can work out how best to make that happen. My contact details are below.
Data Integration NSC | Strategic Partnerships and Projects | Australian Bureau of Statistics
Email to the ABS requesting a list of the information that is created about individuals at unit record level from the Multi Agency Data Integration Project dated Oct, 19 2016
I have some questions about the detail and breadth of data at unit record level generated by the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP) which is being run by the ABS.
I would like an example of the CURF/unit record level data that this data linkage project would provide to researchers to enable me to better understand what kind of information on Australian citizens will be made available through this project.
I would also like to know more about the data linkage process. Is the data taken from each participating agency administrative dataset at a particular point in time to be joined with census data for MADIP or is administrative data continually refreshed or renewed at specific points?
Rosie Williams 19 october 2016
Email to the National Statistics Service regarding changes in the governance framework for cross portfolio data integration projects dated 19 Oct, 2016
I wish to make some enquiries about governance/oversight arrangements for data integration projects. It would appear that the oversight framework that is published at https://statistical-data-integration.govspace.gov.au/roles-and-responsibilities/the-cross-portfolio-data-integration-oversight-board/ suggests that the Cross Portfolio Data Integration Oversight Board is still in existence however an email I have received from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet states:
‘The Secretaries Data Group and Deputy Secretaries Data Group, established in November 2015, have oversight of Data Integration Involving Commonwealth Data for Statistical and Research Purposes, replacing the Cross Portfolio Data Integration Oversight Board.’
Can the National Statistics Service confirm that the Cross Portfolio Data Integration Oversight Board is no longer in operation?
If the CPDIOB is no longer in existence, what oversight arrangements are now in place for Cross Portfolio Data Integration projects using Commonwealth data? For what reason has the the Board been disbanded in favour of the Secretaries Data Group and Deputy Secretaries Data Group?
Will the public register at nss.gov.au continue to be used to list all Commonwealth data integration projects?