12 Apr 2013

Govt considers new 'big data' hub

6:19 am on 12 April 2013

The Government is considering a massive expansion of data-sharing between ministries and agencies and has asked the Treasury to assess the potential impact on people's privacy.

It has started work on a plan to put information on individuals held by its agencies into one big hub so that it can be better accessed by officials.

Law changes this year provide for more personal information to be shared between agencies, and even with private sector organisations.

The Treasury says the information would be changed so individuals cannot be identified, and agencies would be permitted to access the pool of information only for authorised and relevant reasons.

The planning stages of the government blueprint are being led by the State Services Commission's state-sector performance hub which says the question of privacy is being given high priority.

The Treasury has advertised for a consultant to assess the privacy implications of greater government data-sharing, and is seeking bids for the work.

Deputy State Services Commissioner Ryan Orange says health, justice, welfare and education authorities have to work together in order to get better outcomes for people.

Mr Orange told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme that big data work is not interested in specific individuals and services, and names will be removed and birth dates and geographical details altered.

Internet New Zealand security spokesperson Barry Brailey says anyone with access to the hub should have proper accreditation and care should also be taken to ensure systems set up at the outset do not deteriorate over time.