FSI report recommends data inquiry

Productivity Commission should look at ways to increase use of data, Financial Systems Inquiry report says

The final report of the Financial System Inquiry, released yesterday, has recommended the Productivity Commission undertake an inquiry into the potential benefits of increasing private sector use of data.

A PC inquiry should be commenced before the end of next year and examine "the costs and benefits of increasing access to and improving the use of data, subject to privacy considerations".

The inquiry should consider ways to

• Increase private sector, academic and community access to public sector data. • Encourage the use of appropriately de-identified public data to inform government, private sector and consumer decision making.
• Improve individuals’ access to public and private sector data about themselves, such as by defining relevant data, standardising its collection and aggregation in datasets, and formalising access entitlements and arrangements.
• Increase access to private sector data while maintaining private sector incentives to collect data, such as through data-sharing arrangements, cost-recovery arrangements and user charges.
• Further standardise the collection and release of public and private sector data and product information, so datasets can be created and combined more effectively.
• Enhance and maintain individuals’ confidence and trust in the way data is used.

The inquiry could potentially recommend changes to privacy laws to promote the use of data, the report states.

"The outcomes of the proposed PC inquiry should improve the way Australia’s financial system data ecosystem functions by increasing data sharing and the utility of datasets," the FSI report states.

"As the Privacy Act has only recently been updated after an extensive review, any PC recommendations to amend the Privacy Act could be considered in a broader post-implementation review of the Privacy Act. This would ensure another forum to explore potential trade-offs between efficiency and protecting individuals’ privacy. Both processes would foster much-needed public debate on these complex issues, which Government, business and society will need to grapple with for some time to come."

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