Our Data Our Way

Opportunity for New Zealanders to have their say on personal data use

Our Data Our Way (external link) is an opportunity for all New Zealanders to have a say on how personal data is used and shared. Anyone can take part by using a new online tool which launches today (2 Feb) and explores people’s comfort levels in different data use situations. There will also be a nationwide series of workshops, involving hundreds of New Zealanders, taking place throughout February.

Dame Diane Robertson, Chair of the Data Futures Partnership which has commissioned the project, said: “Public and private sector organisations are collecting and using more and more of our data. This presents exciting opportunities, but much of this has taken place without New Zealanders being asked how they feel about it. For the first time, people in New Zealand now have a chance to share their views and help shape the future data landscape.”  

The Data Futures Partnership is an independent advisory body tasked by the Government to draft guidelines for private and public organisations seeking to use people’s personal data. As a first step the Partnership wants to explore and understand New Zealanders’ responses to different types of data use.

“While the Partnership champions increased data use in New Zealand, we know that some people are also uncomfortable about how information about them is used and shared. There are important questions around privacy, security and trust which must be addressed by those using people’s personal information.  

“Increased data use is capable of generating a wide range of benefits for New Zealand. This includes new business opportunities, improved public services, and possible breakthroughs in the fight against disease.

“Effective data sharing can also make life easier for all of us. It could mean less time spent giving different arms of the Government the same information. Or more accurate information about delays to journey times anywhere in the country,” added Dame Diane.

The online tool will test how people weigh up trust and benefit when it comes to the way in which their data is used. This will help define when New Zealanders are comfortable sharing their data and having it used. Online participants will also learn how their views compare with other New Zealanders.

Face-to-face conversations in the workshops will enable the issues to be explored in more depth. The workshops are designed to get people from all walks of life thinking about different situations where their data is, or could be, shared and used for different purposes.

Data use scenarios used for both the online tool and workshops relate to medical information, education information and smart street lighting data.

Data Futures Partnership has partnered with Toi Aria at Massey University to design the online tool and to facilitate the workshops. All views are reported anonymously.

The Partnership will use what it learns from the online tool and the workshops to draft guidelines for data use. Drafting of the guidelines will be an iterative process as the Partnership establishes what is acceptable to New Zealanders when it comes to the use and sharing of personal data. The Partnership expects to publish the draft guidelines by June 2017.

“We know that some organisations are unsure about what is permissible when collecting and using people’s data. The guidelines will set out the ways in which those working with data can build confidence by using data safely and in a way that is trusted and understood.

“First we need to know what New Zealanders feel comfortable with,” Dame Diane said.

If you would like to have a say go to www.ourdataourway.nz (external link)