Academic applauds councils’ data plans

A GRIFFITH University academic who specialises in cybersecurity and ethics applauds a data analytics scheme that could improve regional councils’ operations.

David Tuffley said there was only one downside he could see to expansion of local governments’ data interpretation, and that was the issue of privacy.

“There are some strict laws around this, the basic fact of any data used like this is it’s anonymised,” Dr Tuffley said.

There was potential for ratepayers’ data to be mined by regional councils in future, but it was a well regulated issue.

But there was huge potential for regional communities by tapping into the analytics space through the Local Government Association of Queensland’s analytics scheme LG Sherlock.

According to LGAQ the program held the councils’ offered data and turns it into information that could help make decisions.

“There’s lots of ways it can benefit the community,” Dr Tuffley said.

“It’s really only limited by the imagination of the big data scientists.

“Probably the hardest thing is to find the people who can do this because there’s such a big demand for data scientists.”

Dr Tuffley said that councils could use this data to increase liveability of regional communities and to decrease centralisation to the cities.

“What can be done to stop the aggregation of the population from the country to the city.

“We need vibrant regional communities,” he said.

“What I saw the LGAQ doing there was news to me, and I was just glad to see it, and I’m happy that they are doing something like that because it is going to help for the reasons I was just saying.”

It might be the sort of sector which would allow local students to study IT based subjects and to work in their local communities.

Data analytics was a specialised skill that was in demand in many sectors, and it was a challenge trying to find people that could do it.

Dr Tuffley said history had shown that new jobs would be created from advancing technologies.

“The problem is nobody knows what to actually call these new jobs, they haven’t been invented yet,” he said.