Ensuring the privacy of open datasets and creating a secure data environment for government

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GWI worked to ensure the long-term security and privacy of sensitive datasets and create a culture of safe and secure data sharing within a government department. 

We were engaged by a large government department after it was identified during a routine risk audit process that certain open datasets revealed privacy risks, meaning thousands of personal records were at risk of being identified. The department immediately remedied the affected open datasets to reduce the possibility of further risks. 

Understanding the importance of data privacy, security and ethics to business operations and performance, the department turned to GWI for assistance. We were engaged to provide further assurance that the department’s privacy risk remediation efforts had been effective and mitigated any future privacy risks. 

The GWI Method 

We engaged with department stakeholders to conduct an independent review of the existing risk assessment and the department’s remediation response. Using the same method as the auditor, GWI determined whether or not an individual could be identified by combining information across attributes combined with adversarial knowledge. We conducted the risk assessment based on the existence of unique records identifiable in datasets and the level of privacy risk posed and collated our findings to deliver the department with a robust and proven framework for improving open data privacy. 

In doing this, we were able to identify any new privacy risks in the datasets that had surfaced as a result of their remediation efforts and provide recommendations for future practices regarding the department’s privacy-preserving practices in relation to open data publication. 

The Outcome 

As a result of working with GWI, the department can move forward with the confidence that their datasets are secure and no additional privacy risks have been introduced. We delivered several recommendations for the department to implement regarding privacy-preserving practices that allow for evidence-based decisions to be made. Using the risk-based guide developed by GWI, the department can ensure the safety of thousands of Australians by assessing the privacy risk of future datasets prior to publication  

We have worked with organisations across government, healthcare, higher education, and commercial to ensure the safety and security of their data practices. Establishing a robust and ethical framework for data management, sharing and collection can safeguard your businesses from privacy risks that can be detrimental to business performance and reputation. Get in touch with the experts at GWI to find out how we can help your business get the most out of your digital assets while ensuring the security of your data and information.