DGA Chairman delivers National Press Club Address

On 12 July 2017, DGA Chairman, Graeme Samuel AC, delivered an address to the National Press Club on the balancing act of consumer protection and benefits of data innovation.  DGA hosted a table for senior staff and advisers from various Government Departments interested in data innovation, privacy and security, including the PM&C Taskforce, the Department of Communications and the Arts, the Policy Innovation and Projects Division, the Broadband Implementation BranchMinister for Cyber Security, and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Data presents the most significant post-industrial opportunity for innovation and value-creation.  The possibilities of how it can be applied to meet shared global challenges increases as its volume, variety and velocity increase.  It presents us with an enormous opportunity to discover new insights, build and establish new relationships, and coordinate and plan with greater agility and accuracy.

To unleash the full benefits of digital data, we need more data and the ability to do increasingly sophisticated things with it, including applying new techniques and processes for analysis. The accuracy and usefulness of insights can only increase through greater openness and cross-utilisation. Industry and governments alike must be able to share, merge and manipulate datasets to derive the insights that can help shape the future of our society and deliver better outcomes for all.

The Productivity Commission recommended that individuals and small and medium businesses be given a new Comprehensive Right to the use of their digital data through a joint ownership model.  During his address, Graeme Samuel argued against this.

“While the move to open data should be encouraged if we are to truly realise the full value of data to our society, there are serious concerns whether private business would continue their investment in data under a joint ownership of data model,” Samuel said.

He added, “this is likely to ultimate stifle innovation and value-creation and weaken Australia’s ability to compete globally.”

After two decades of digital evolution, companies are still struggling to engender trust when it comes to their use of data. At the heart of the new data-driven bargain between a buyer and seller is the issue of consumer trust.

Addressing consumer concerns about their privacy and ensuring community expectations about data practices are met, are key to moving into the future.  This demands a new way of thinking about data and the role of individuals, industry and regulation.  The extent of innovation and the value that will ultimately be generated depends on our ability to rethink our relationship with data. Without consumer buy-in, the future of data may never be fully realised.

Under the leadership of DGA, industry is stepping up to help redefine its approach to data in order to engender consumer confidence and trust to facilitate innovation.  DGA released the draft DGA Code of Practice for public consultation and received an overwhelmingly positive response.  The DGA Code of Practice is part of our ongoing effort to set leading industry standards, promote a culture of best practice, and to drive innovation by increasing consumer confidence and trust in the data-practices of business.

You can view the Draft DGA Code of Practice on our website here.

Watch the Address delivered by Graeme Samuel AC to the National Press Club.