Stop the Open Data Bus, We Want to Get Off​

The talk will discuss the impact of the failure of de-identification to protect individual privacy, using case studies of re-identification within open data releases to demonstrate the ease with which re-identification can be performed, and why de-identification was destined to fail. Whilst the case studies are from open data releases, the impact of the failure of de-identification will be felt more keenly within business and government. Much of the current data economy is based on the exchanging of data that is claimed to be de-identified. Without such claims, the data would be protected by the Privacy Act and would require consent from the individual to be shared. The talk will also discuss how recent legislation is exacerbating the problem, with a continuing reliance on de-identification within legislation like the Consumer Data Right, and will look at how this could impact on both individual privacy and what impact a strengthening of privacy legislation could have on business.

Dr Chris Culnane

Dr Chris Culnane is a Lecturer of Cybersecurity and Privacy in the School of Computing and Information Systems, and Deputy Chair of the Cybersecurity and Democracy Network, at the University of Melbourne. His research interests include verifiable electronic voting, secure data linkage, and data privacy. In 2016, he along with Vanessa Teague and Ben Rubinstein, showed it was possible to re-identify the government’s public release of a 10% sample of the Australian populations Medical and Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule billing records. More recently they demonstrated re-identification of themselves and others, including a State MP, in an open release of Myki transport data in Victoria.

About Academic Seminars

Our academic seminars are a forum for our academic staff to collaborate, share and discuss relevant research and trends with their peers and broader academic community.


Joyce Ackroyd Building (37), room 430