Big Data? Big Privacy!

A speech to open Privacy Awareness Week Australia 2013.

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I was invited to give a speech at the launch of Australian Privacy Awareness Week #2013PAW on April 29, 2013. Attached is a short set of my speaking notes.

An edited version of this speech was also posted as a blog.


“I’ve found time and time again a shortfall in the understanding that ‘technologists’ as a class have regarding data privacy. There is a gap between technology and the law. IT professionals may receive privacy training but as soon as they hear the well-meaning slogan ‘Privacy Is Not A Technology Issue’ they tend to say ‘thank god: that’s one thing I don’t need to worry about’. Conversely, privacy laws are written with some naivety about how information flows in modern IT and how it aggregates automatically in standard computer systems. For instance, several clauses in Australian privacy law refer expressly to making ‘annotations’ in the ‘records’ as if they’re all paper based, with wide margins.

“The gap is perpetuated to some extent by the popular impression that the law has not kept up with the march of technology. As a technologist, I have to say I am not cynical about the law; I actually find that principles-based data privacy law anticipates almost all of the current controversies in cyberspace (though not quite all, as we shall see).”

Lockstep Big Data Big Privacy OAIC PAW 29Apri2013 SPEAKING NOTES