While data is viewed as an asset, the abundance and accessibility of data has increased the likelihood of inappropriate disclosures and breaches of privacy. Along with the advent of ‘big data’ and associated analytics, the re-use of data, risk of re-identification and errors can result in breaches of this fundamental human right.

For Australia to prosper in the 21st century requires a robust and well considered approach to data that balances the benefits with the risks. Offsetting the benefits of improved predictions, lower crime and better government services are “real concerns about cybersecurity, protecting privacy and human rights” (according to the UN Secretary General). That is, as with technology, data in and of itself is neither good or bad, how we manage and govern personal data is what matters. By drawing on best practice and emerging global trends, we will discuss what can be done to maximise the utility of data to benefit Australians while “doing no harm”.

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