Discussion paper
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The data held by Australian Government agencies is both a national and government asset. It is also a potential source of opportunity. In this context, Australian Government agencies, like many other organisations, are aware of the challenges and opportunities that big data represents to the way they develop policy and deliver services to citizens.

The purpose of this issues paper is to provide an opportunity to consider the range of opportunities presented to agencies in relation to the use of big data, and the emerging tools that allow us to better appreciate what it tells us, in the context of the potential concerns that this might raise.

As an example, one of the major challenges facing agencies here is to leverage the value of big data sets while ensuring they continue to protect the privacy rights of the Australian public.

The Australian Government is committed to protecting citizen’s rights to privacy, and as part of that commitment, has recently strengthened the provisions of the Privacy Act. The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) acknowledges that big data, and its associated analytical tools, can provide a challenge to these rights, but believe that, with proper considerations, agencies will be able to use big data to develop better policies and deliver better services without compromising the privacy rights of the public.

Our aim is to ensure that the use of the new technology and tools supporting big data will deliver benefits while maintaining compliance with privacy. To this end AGIMO will be working closely with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), the Attorney General’s Department (AGD) and experts across the public and private sectors as it develops a big data strategy.

Comments on this paper can be submitted to the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) here.

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