If you’re handling big datasets, it’s important to think about user privacy. Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock
In 2016, a group of University of Melbourne researchers managed to decrypt some data that should have been anonymous.
Using publicly available information, the team pulled service provider numbers out of a sample of Pharmaceutical Benefits and Medicare Benefits Schedule data published online by the Australian government.
Needless to say, people were worried. But while the official response was swift, the exercise showed the potential vulnerability of some datasets that have ostensibly been anonymised to protect privacy.
Still, there are many reasons why it might be useful to share or release data.
A government health department may choose to make data available for medical research. A supermarket may share customer data with a local petrol station to launch a loyalty scheme.