Create legal basis for data sharing

Public sector agencies have started sharing data with appropriate protections for individual privacy.  This process is being managed by Statistics New Zealand through the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) but there are legal barriers to what can be shared.  Courts are part of the Judicial system and they cannot directly share data on matters such as Court sentences with government agencies.

Is the current Constituion a barrier to sharing data between agencies? What other legal barriers are there? 

Government should ask the Law Commission (in consultation with the Data Futures Partnership or other experts) to review New Zealand laws to identify systemic barriers to sharing data, and to propose a clear and simple legal solution to address that. The proposal should include a timeline with guidance on what can be done now, and what steps can be achieved as the law is reformed. Seek cross party support for discussions on reforming the legal basis for data sharing, and if that isn't possible look at opportunities for open public discussions and education. Use Select Committee consideration of the law as an opportunity for engagement. Write short guides for all government workers and users of government services about what data is kept, how safety and privacy are maintained, what future plans are, and how they can find out more.

Why the contribution is important

Currently legal barriers prevent some data sharing.  There are inconsistencies about information requirements between agencies.  There are also attitudinal barriers that a legal discussion would help with. Discussion should include differences between open data and shared data and closed data. There should be reassurances about anonymised and aggregated data, and greater clarity about when data matching would be justified. People need surety of knowing how to access their own information held by agencies.  Legislative reforms would help with definitions and clarity.

by Kay on August 24, 2016 at 11:57PM

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