Australia - Productivity Commission review of big data access and use The Australian Productivity Commission (Productivity Commission) has invited stakeholders to contribute to a new inquiry on data availability and use, and has released an issues paper that provides initial perspectives on areas of interest for the inquiry. The inquiry will explore the costs and benefits of increasing availability and use of both public and private data, as well as maximising community confidence in the ways that data is collected, stored and used in Australia. The issues paper notes that the way data is collected and used is changing rapidly overseas, with flow-on effects in Australia that present both risks and opportunities for the public and private sectors. In releasing the issues paper, Productivity Commission Chairman Peter Harris said that 'big data analytics may need to move out of the back room and into the showroom if community confidence and wide opportunity for innovation are to be maximised.' The inquiry will consider the costs and benefits of increasing the availability of both public and private sector data for government agencies, the private sector, the research sector, academics and the wider community. In doing so, the inquiry seeks to identify public and private datasets that would provide high value to the other sectors, and any legislative or other impediments that restrict the availability of such data. In determining the desirability of increased access to such data, the inquiry will consider concerns of private sector data owners, and provide an update on existing data sharing initiatives in Australia, including the uptake of the credit reporting framework. The issues paper also canvasses an examination of the current process for individual access to personal and other data, and the potential benefits of improving individual access to both public and private sector data. The inquiry will seek to identify datasets that would provide high value to consumers in making informed decisions, and the potential for third party intermediaries to assist consumers in making use of their data. The inquiry will also address the extent to which standardising the collection, sharing and release of public and private sector data is desirable, and options for achieving this standardisation. Finally, the inquiry will focus on ways to improve individual and business trust and confidence in the ways that data is used, and any further protocols that may be necessary to facilitate the appropriate disclosure and use of individual and business data in order to protect both privacy and commercial interests. In doing so, the inquiry will seek to evaluate the effectiveness of existing approaches to data confidentiality and data security, as well as consider the merits of codifying the treatment and classification of business data within Australia. The inquiry will benchmark Australia’s data protection laws, privacy principles and protocols against those of leading jurisdictions, and will consider domestic and international best practice for encouraging the sharing and linking of both public and private sector data. The Productivity Commission is seeking submissions from interested stakeholders via its website by 29 July 2016, and will release a draft report in November 2016. For more information, please contact Toby Patten or Matthew Dempsey.